Crude oil markets are tightening, the International Energy Agency said Thursday, Kallanish Energy reports.
The agency warned, however, an “extraordinarily” wide range of views about the health of the global economy was making it difficult to forecast oil prices.
It comes at a time when the energy industry is concerned surging U.S. crude inventories and an economic slowdown could soon slow fuel consumption.
However, global oil markets remain firm, amid Opec+ supply cuts, U.S. sanctions on oil exporters Venezuela and Iran and increased fighting in Opec member Libya.
“The huge increase in oil production we saw in the second half of 2018 has reversed following the implementation of the new Vienna Agreement and the increasing effectiveness of sanctions against Iran and Venezuela,” Paris-based IEA said Thursday.
“This turnaround in supply has contributed to a dramatic increase in prices, with Brent crude rising from $50 a barrel at the end of December, to more than $70 a barrel today.”
Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude futures have risen roughly 30% and 40%, respectively, since the start of the year.
Opec+, which includes most Opec members along with a number of non-Opec producer-countries led by Russia, is trying to keep 1.2 million barrels per day (Mmbpd) off the market through June.
Opec+ members will meet in June to discuss oil policy. Saudi Arabia is set on maintaining the production cuts into the second half of 2019, while Russia refuses to commit to an extension.
“We maintain our forecast of 1.4 Mmbpd (in 2019 oil demand growth), but accept that there are mixed signals about the health of the global economy, and differing views about the likely level of oil prices,” IEA said.
This post appeared first on Kallanish Energy News.