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Oil Market Snapshot – April 2017 Credibility Crunch

OPEC is doing better on compliance - so why is market confidence waning? Brent rallied in early April on confidence in an OPEC deal extension. However, Brent struggled to hold on to these gains towards the end of the month as OPEC still remains above its production ceiling and key demand indicators such as crude and gasoline stocks performed worse than expected. This applied downward pressure on the futures curve. We have thus revised down our demand forecast slightly for 2017 but expect that to be offset by faster growth in 2018. Our OPEC/non-OPEC supply analysis concurrently indicates global oil supply to remain almost flat this year as production cuts take effect, but also highlights potential oversupply next year depending on the outcome of OPEC's upcoming May meeting. New offshore frontiers such as the Barents Sea are likely to be the centre of an exploration boom this year as substantial cost cuts have economised drilling.

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