Last month, David Rubenstein, a founder of private-equity firm Carlyle Group, said he anticipates “maybe the greatest energy investing opportunities we’ve ever seen.” Marc Lasry, founder of hedge fund Avenue Capital, has described energy as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The stress test had definitely shown that “we still need additional infrastructure, but not everywhere – we really need to target investment where it's really needed and have the projects of common interest (“PCI's”) and how Europe promotes investments should really be targeted to regions where we do need investments.”
The average natural gas spot price at the benchmark Henry Hub for December 2015 of $1.93 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) was the lowest monthly average since March 1999. EIA expects natural gas prices to rise, averaging $2.65/MMBtu in 2016 and $3.22/MMBtu in 2017. Expected price increases reflect consumption growth, mainly from the industrial sector, that outpaces near-term production growth.
From 2014 to 2040, we see global demand for energy rising by 25 percent. This increase is equivalent to the total energy used in North America and Latin America today.
The economy will shrink 1.5 percent this year, Alfa Bank’s Natalia Orlova said in a report on Monday, cutting her previous forecast for an expansion of 0.3 percent.
Therefore, oil prices will rise once more people study the long-term dynamics of oil markets instead of trading on and exploiting the short term news. On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, WTI for delivery in February 2017 closed at US$37.08 a barrel on January 19, 23% higher than the market closing price for the day.
Brent crude futures plunged more than 4 percent to near 12-year lows on Friday as the market braced for increased Iranian oil exports, with the lifting of international sanctions possible within days.
Forecast Brent crude oil prices average $40/b in 2016 and $50/b in 2017. Forecast West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices average $2/b lower than Brent in 2016 and $3/b lower in 2017. However, the current values of futures and options contracts continue to suggest high uncertainty in the price outlook.
The slowdown has been rapid. As recently as a year ago, US manufacturing production was growing at an annual rate of 4.5 per cent, says Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers. By November that had slowed to 0.9 per cent and this year Mr Moutray expects production to grow just 1.4 per cent.
Companies like BP, which said Tuesday it is cutting 4,000 jobs, are slimming down to cope with the slump in oil, whose price has plummeted to its lowest level in 12 years and is not expected to recover significantly for months, possibly years. California-based Chevron said last fall that it would eliminate 7,000 jobs, while rival Shell announced 6,500 layoffs.
Crude oil production in February from seven major US shale plays is expected to fall 116,000 b/d to 4.83 million b/d. Production from the Eagle Ford is seen dropping 72,000 b/d during the month to 1.15 million b/d, followed by a 24,000-b/d loss in the Bakken to 1.1 million b/d and 23,000-b/d loss in the Niobrara to 371,000 b/d.
“Companies have to be prudent in the face of what’s happening,” says Daniel Yergin, vice-chairman of consultancy IHS. “It’s a wrenching period for the industry.”
Global LNG output is expected to rise by a third to about 330 million metric tons annually by 2018, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Most of the new fuel will come from the U.S. and Australia, which is poised to topple Qatar as the biggest supplier. Unlike Saudi Arabia, the largest oil shipper, Qatar won’t be fighting for market share at the expense of earnings.
Natural gas demand is expected to rise to 199 billion cubic meters in 2016, Zhu Fang, head of market information department at the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Association told Reuters after a media briefing by the association on Tuesday in Beijing.
Oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron have already slashed tens of thousands jobs globally to deal with a near 75 percent drop in oil prices since June 2014 that has seen earnings collapse.