The 2020 Oil Market Is Turning Ugly
The first tentative glances into 2020 by oil consultants are nearly unanimous about the prospect of oversupply -- a view shared in private by major commodity trading houses. The surpluses are all the more remarkable because none is predicting a recovery in Iranian and Venezuelan output. Over the last year, the combined output of the two troubled OPEC producers has dropped roughly 2.2 million barrels a day -- equal to what Germany consumes.
S&P Global Platts, the owner of what was previously named PIRA Energy consultants, put the surplus next year at around 400,000 barrels a day in a report to clients in May. The Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, sees a 100,000 barrel-a-day excess. And Energy Aspects, another influential consultant popular with hedge funds and big trading houses, sees a "large" stock-build of 500,000 barrels a day. IHS Markit expects a total surplus of 800,000 barrels a day next year.
The surpluses, however, mask notable differences within the petroleum market, with most consultants anticipating a larger overhang in refined products than in crude.
Although the Paris-based IEA hasn’t yet published its first detailed look into 2020, it offered some glimpses of its thinking earlier this year when it published a 5-year outlook from 2019 to 2024. In that report, it forecast oil demand next year at 102 million barrels a day, and production from non-OPEC countries plus condensates from OPEC at 71.9 million barrels. That, effectively, will leave a gap for OPEC crude to fill of just 30.1 million barrels, close to the cartel’s current production.
Since the publication of the report, the IEA has raised its non-OPEC supply view for 2019, and lowered its demand forecast, suggesting that if the cartel keeps pumping at current levels, production will exceed demand in 2020.
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