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Oil / Black Gold / Texas T

The United States and the European Union lifted sanctions on 16 January 2016 against Iran after a report by the international nuclear watchdog saying Iran nation had complied with all requirements allowing them to enter the global economy and begin selling their massive oil production in international markets. International analysts told British news outlet The Week that due to the lifting of sanctions on Iran – who produces around 1.1 million barrels of crude per day and is expected to raise their production by about 500,000 a day – prices of oil will fall to “25 dollars, 20 or even as low as 10 dollars a barrel in the coming months.”

Morgan Stanley became the latest bank to predict prices would fall to US$20, while analysts from the Royal Bank of Scotland predicted that price would fall as low as US$16. However, the Standard Chartered Bank went further by saying the market could very well reach US$10. "We think prices could fall as low as $10 [a barrel] before most of the money managers in the market conceded that matters had gone too far," the bank stated. World Bank experts agree with these projections. They assured that oil prices will in fact drop to US$10 per barrel in 2016, according to Shanta Devarajan, WB chief economist for the Middle East and North Africa region.

Markets were routed in December as persistent oversupply, bloated inventories and a slew of negative economic news pressured prices so that by mid-January crude oil touched twelve-year lows. At the time of writing, both ICE Brent and NYMEX WTI had sunk below $30/bbl. Exceptionally mild temperatures in the early part of the winter in Japan, Europe and the US, alongside weak economic sentiment in China, Brazil, Russia and other commodity-dependent economies, saw global oil demand growth flip from a near five-year high in 3Q15 (2.1 mb/d) to a one-year low in 4Q15 (1.0 mb/d). The outlook for 2016 has demand growth moderating to 1.2 mb/d.

Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries had been the main force behind the plunging oil prices as they continue to oversupply the market with crude oil in a bid to push the higher-cost shale oil productions, mainly in the US, out of the market. Venezuelan oil prices fell to a historic low of $29 per barrel, President Nicolas Maduro to have said 16 December 2015. Revenues have fallen by a staggering 68 percent in 2015 alone, Maduro added. Venezuelan extra-heavy crude and refined products averaged $31.24 per barrel last week, Reuters reports. In 2015, Venezuelan prices have averaged $45.55, compared with $88.42 in 2014 and $98.08 in 2013.

Global oil prices had fallen to their lowest point since February 2009 as prices loom below $36, according to global benchmark Brent which calculates prices at $36.68 a barrel. United States benchmark West Texas Intermediate calculates prices at below $35 per barrel. Brent was trading at less than 40 U.S. cents above the lows experienced during the 2008 financial crisis of $36.20 a barrel. If Brent falls below that level, it will be its lowest since mid-2004. WTI’s financial crisis low was $32.40 in December 2008.

Arab Gulf States said they would continue the high production rate even if the price falls to $20 a barrel. The second factor in the falling prices is that Iran is preparing to flood the market with as much as 700,000 barrels per day as it expects economic sanctions to be lifted as early as January 2016.

China became world’s biggest importer of crude oil in April 2015, reaching a record number of almost 7.4 million barrels per day, compared to America’s estimated 7.2 million bpd. The growth came despite a slowing economy and was spurred by relatively low oil price and recent interest rate cuts in China as the government tries to stimulate growth. While the US may retake top spot in the months to come, China was expected to be the biggest importer of crude oil in the long run, while becoming the world’s leading exporter of almost all major commodities, including coal and most metals.

Global oil prices began to fall sharply during summer 2014 amid an oversupply in the market. Prices then dropped further after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, whose 12 member states account for some 40 percent of world oil output, decided not to cut production in late November.

The United States expected global oil prices to remain low in the coming years, Vice President Joe Biden said at the Caribbean Energy Security Summit on 26 January 2015. “Let’s start with oil prices, now under $50 a barrel…it is likely going to remain relatively low for, at the near term, the next several years,” Biden said.

Brent crude oil fell below $50 per barrel on the London Stock Exchange on 07 January 2015 - the lowest plunge since the dark days of the 2008 financial crisis. So far in 2015 Brent had already lost 10% of its value, after wiping out 50% in 2014. Brent crude is the European trading benchmark, and followed the spiral trajectory of its US-counterpart WTI, which sank below $50 per barrel for February contracts on 05 January.

Brent crude oil hit 2015 highs above $63 per barrel on 16 April 2015 after a rally of more than 5 percent the previous session. Front-month Brent crude futures rose above $63 a barrel for the first time this year on Wednesday. They dipped back to $62.96 by 0413 GMT. US crude was at $56.23 after hitting a 2015 high of $56.69 on 15 April 2015. The prices jumped after US inventories built up more slowly than expected. Also, talks between major oil producers this week triggered speculation of production cuts.

Since 2007, US crude oil production in the United States had nearly doubled, thanks mainly to new fracking technologies used in the extraction of shale oil. The rapid fall in the price of oil in 2014 was a result of simple supply and demand. In the United States, new shale-drilling projects were modeled and sanctioned on an oil price of between $90 and $110 per barrel. Iran based its government budget on oil prices of $100 a barrel.




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