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Will gasoline prices drop in 2022? It depends on OPEC and U.S. shale By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A fuel pump is seen in a automotive at a Shell fuel station, after a cyberattack crippled the most important gasoline pipeline in the nation, run by Colonial Pipeline, in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 15, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

By Stephanie Kelly, Noah Browning and Sabrina Valle

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Whether gasoline pump prices fall in 2022 depends on two teams of producers who’re struggling to extend oil output in the wake of the pandemic: OPEC and its allies and U.S. shale companies.

The international oil business’s sluggish response to the surging demand in 2021 has contributed to hovering vitality prices and inflationary pressures worldwide. As the financial system recovers and populations resume street, rail and air journey, international oil demand has almost rebounded to pre-pandemic ranges.

Supply has not recovered so quick – so to maintain up with demand, the business is burning via oil saved in storage.

Benchmark oil prices have surged to multi-year highs over $86 a barrel, and some economists warn crude might surpass $100 a barrel, threatening the restoration.

    The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects the roughly 100 million barrels per day (bpd) market to flip into surplus in the primary quarter subsequent yr, and for provide to outpace demand by 1.1 million bpd, taking some warmth out of prices. That oversupply might rise to 2.2 million bpd in the second quarter, the vitality watchdog forecasts.

Those projections, nonetheless, rely on OPEC and its allies growing output at 400,000 bpd per 30 days, because the group referred to as OPEC+ slowly unwinds cuts it was pressured to make through the pandemic.

But the IEA’s month-to-month report on Tuesday confirmed OPEC+ is nowhere close to its targets: it produced about 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) under these ranges in September and October. That is essentially because of high African producers Nigeria and Angola, whose upkeep and funding issues are prone to weigh on output subsequent yr.

If that underproduction continues, it might wipe out a lot of the excess in the primary quarter and maintain markets tight for longer. The IEA lifted its common oil value assumption to $79.40 a barrel, even because it stated greater provide might give some reprieve.

Commodities buying and selling large Trafigura warned on Tuesday of a “very, very tight oil market” as declining manufacturing funding, partly because of an business transition to greener vitality, provides to cost strain.

The United States and different large vitality customers have requested OPEC+ to extend output extra shortly, however the group has refused because of concern coronavirus could once more sap demand through the northern winter.

The market is now seeking to the U.S. shale business, which has supplied many of the non-OPEC output enhance over the previous decade.

“There’s one element where you could probably further increase capacity, which is shale in the U.S.,” stated Marco Dunand, chief government of service provider Mercuria Energy Trading, on the Reuters Commodity Trading Summit this week.

The IEA expects an enormous 480,000 bpd rise in and liquids (NGLs) output in the second quarter of 2022, and by 1.1 million bpd for all of 2022.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s near-term expectations are decrease, with general crude and NGLs output set to rise by 220,000 in the second quarter. The EIA sees U.S. output accelerating in the second half of 2022, for a 1.25 million bpd enhance in crude and NGLs for the yr.

However, shale producers have responded extra slowly than throughout earlier value rises. Investors and shareholders have demanded better capital self-discipline from the business than in earlier boom-bust cycles, and are punishing companies that make investments in capability and rewarding people who pay dividends and scale back debt.

“We’re at $83 a barrel on , and we see no big surge in rig counts,” stated Jeffrey Currie, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) international head of commodities analysis, on the Reuters summit.

Shale firms are grappling with labor and tools shortages, whereas others say demand remains to be too unsure to spice up output because the business recovers from the pandemic-induced recession.

“It’s still pretty fragile,” stated William Berry, chief government at Continental Resources (NYSE:), in a latest earnings name. “I don’t think it’s appropriate for anyone in the industry to be overproducing into that potentially fragile oversupplied market.”


Non-OPEC Latin American producers are growing output. Guyana, a relative newcomer on the worldwide oil stage, is slated to start out producing 220,000 bpd of additional capability at an Exxon-run floating manufacturing system early subsequent yr.

Brazil’s state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA is ramping up its 180,000 bpd floating platform Carioca, which in August began manufacturing at Sepia deep-water area in the Santos Basin.

Venezuela has seen its exports enhance after receiving Iranian condensate https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/another-iranian-condensate-cargo-begin-unloading-venezuela-document-2021-10-26, however it’s unclear if that may be sustained, stated Francisco Monaldi, director of the Latin American Energy Program at Rice University’s Baker Institute.

Canadian provide might rise by roughly 100,000 bpd in the primary quarter, stated Ann-Louise Hittle, vice chairman at consultancy Wood Mackenzie, however oil firms in the world’s fourth-largest producer are additionally restraining output.

Total oil provide ought to attain 99.8 million bpd in the primary quarter of 2022, surpassing demand estimated at 98.9 million bpd, stated Hittle.

But vitality consultancy FGE warned the market supply-demand stability could not change shortly with developed international locations’ inventories at six-year lows.

“Although prices will probably trend down from last month’s peak, the current low inventory position sustains the risk of prices spiking higher in the next few months,” FGE stated.

This story corrects paragraph 8 to state IEA elevated its value assumptions.


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