WTI Falls Below $59 a Barrel for the First Time in Eight Months; U.S. Set to Dominate Energy Market By 2025, Says EIA
The oil-price collapse became a record fallout on Tuesday, as U.S. crude futures headed for their longest losing streak ever. In the process, the futures contract dipped below $59.00 a barrel for the first time since February and is now trading at its lowest level since last year.
Oil Prices Sink Further into Bear Territory
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures fell by as much as 2.8% on Tuesday, extending their losing streak to a record 12 days. At the time of writing, WTI was trading down $1.38, or 2.3%, at $58.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent’s decline was equally perilous, with the global benchmark falling $1.60, or 2.3%, to $68.52 a barrel.
Oil prices have lost a swift 23% since Oct 3, when markets were pushing toward multi-year highs. The rout intensified this week after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Saudi Arabia’s plan to lower production amid the selloff.
The Saudis announced Monday they would scale back output by 500,000 to bring supply back in line with demand. Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih said output cuts of 1 million barrels per day are needed to re-balance the market. This suggests fellow OPEC members are likely to join efforts to reduce output in support of higher prices.
U.S. Set to Dominate Energy Market
America’s reliance on Saudi oil is quickly fading as domestic shale production achieves new economies of scale. According to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the United States will produce half the world’s oil and gas supply by 2025.
In its annual World Energy Outlook report, the agency said the U.S. will account for roughly 75% of global gas growth over the next six years. It will also account for 40% of the growth in natural gas. At the same time, U.S. shale production is forecast to more than double to 9.2 million barrels per day.
“The shale revolution continues to shake up oil and gas supply, enabling the U.S. to pull away from the rest of the field as the world’s largest oil and gas producer,” the IEA said in its report. “By 2025, nearly every fifth barrel of oil and every fourth cubic meter of gas in the world come from the United States.”
The upsurge in U.S. shale production has eroded OPEC’s dominance of the international energy market. This was most evidently on display in 2014 when a systemic price collapse forced the Saudi-led cartel to adopt new production policies. While the cartel has succeeded in bringing prices above the break-even rate for Middle East producers, it has failed to deter lean shale producers that are capable of generating profits even with the latest drop in prices. This new reality is expected to play out further over the next six years.
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