OPEC Says Cheap Oil Taking Longer To Subdue Rival Suppliers


LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - OPEC on Tuesday raised its forecast of oil supplies from non-member countries in 2015, a sign that crude's price collapse is taking longer than expected to hit U.S. shale drillers and other competing sources.

In a monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) forecast no extra demand for its crude oil this year despite faster global growth in consumption, because of higher-than-expected production from the United States and other countries outside the group.

In contrast, the U.S. government on Tuesday lowered both its 2015 and 2016 U.S. oil production forecasts, signalling that the 60-percent rout in benchmark prices since last summer may finally be weighing on shale output.

The U.S. 2015 crude oil production growth forecast was cut by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 650,000 bpd from the previous report, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's short-term energy outlook. Meanwhile, it expanded the production decline forecast for 2016 by 400,000 bpd from a 150,000 bpd decline previously.

Benchmark Brent is trading below $50 a barrel, close to its 2015 low after an 18 percent drop in July. But OPEC has refused to cut output, seeking to recover market share by slowing higher-cost production in the United States and elsewhere that had been encouraged by OPEC's prior policy of keeping prices near $100.

Earlier this year, OPEC slashed its prediction of non-OPEC supply for 2015, expecting lower prices to prompt a slowdown. But on Tuesday, it raised the forecast by about 90,000 bpd following a 220,000-bpd increase in last month's report.

"U.S. onshore production from unconventional sources is currently expected to decline marginally in the second half of 2015 through year-end, while U.S. offshore production is expected to grow due to project start-ups," OPEC said.

Meanwhile, the EIA decreased its forecast of non-OPEC supply on Tuesday, lowering 2015 output by 50,000 bpd and 2016 output by 80,000 bpd compared to the previous month's report.

U.S. energy companies have been adding drilling rigs in recent weeks despite the price drop, and OPEC in the report raised its forecast of U.S. output in 2015 by 20,000 bpd. In March, OPEC was expecting a fall in production possibly by late 2015 as drilling subsided, although more recent data from the EIA shows that output peaked in March.

"OPEC is starting to recognise the resilience of U.S. shale," said Jamie Webster, analyst at IHS in Washington and an OPEC expert.

Oil prices fell after the report was released, extending an earlier drop. Brent crude was down $1.34 at $49.07 by 1434 GMT.

Lower Costs

A reduction in the cost of oil projects since the price crash is helping non-OPEC supply to compete in the market.

"The OPEC secretariat is indeed re-evaluating non-OPEC supply's ability to withstand prices," said Samuel Ciszuk, senior adviser on security of supply to the Swedish Energy Agency.

"Project costs have come down a lot and are continuing to fall, according to recent data. This is particularly so with regards to the U.S. light, tight oil - which has provided most of non-OPEC output growth, or in OPEC's view the oversupply."

OPEC also said its members continue to boost supplies. According to secondary sources cited by the report, OPEC produced 31.51 million bpd in July - 1.5 million bpd more than its 30-million-bpd target.

With OPEC forecasting demand for its crude will average 29.23 million bpd in 2015 - steady from last month - the report points to a 2.28-million-bpd supply surplus in the market if the group kept pumping at July's rate.

But Saudi Arabia, the driving force behind's OPEC's refusal to cut output, told OPEC it trimmed production by 200,000 bpd to 10.36 million bpd in July, down from June's record rate.

Some OPEC members such as Algeria are concerned by the drop in prices and want the group to reduce supply. Gulf members, however, have rebuffed calls for an emergency OPEC meeting and show no sign of willingness to consider output cuts.

In the report, OPEC still sees a sizeable slowdown in supply growth from non-OPEC next year and stuck to its view that rising global demand would erode the surplus in the market.

"Crude oil demand in the coming months should continue to improve and, thus, gradually reduce the imbalance in oil supply-demand fundamentals," it said.

(Additional reporting by Catherine Ngai in New York; Editing by Dale Hudson and Phil Berlowitz)


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Tim  |  August 17, 2015
I think I remember our present elected officials campaigning that energy independence was impossible to achieve and we were forever going to be bound to world market influences. Their lack of action to resist OPECs pricing moves and fight North American companys capital projects that would assist in the solidification of our ability to combat foreign influences only supports their self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course, past administrations have tried to include industry leaders in the decision-making and planning process and were ridiculed for the effort. The popular battle cry has always been the answer my friend is Blowing In The Wind..... We need a president that will use the new Executive Order process to properly redirect this countrys efforts.
RON  |  August 12, 2015
Allow export of oil like any country
SuSi  |  August 12, 2015
Agree with David. We must do it before they control us using. Oil independent is the solution
David Claycomb  |  August 11, 2015
We want to be energy independent yet we allow OPEC to openly try to destroy our oil production, this is when government needs to step in and put limits on imported oil and slowly phase out imported oil.