Next week, OPEC will hold what is arguably its most anticipated meeting so far this decade.
The slide in oil prices has brought out speculation about OPEC’s next moves.
What is becoming very clear is that until OPEC commits to support the market, price volatility will remain high. Our take is that Saudi Arabia is determined to enforce Cartel discipline, which suggests cartel action is only a matter of time. That said, with the emergence of U.S. shale oil production, OPEC is no longer the only marginal producer. This complicates OPEC’s strategy, because the tradeoff between lower production volume and oil-price gains is now less straightforward.
OPEC’s options range from shared production cuts to letting the current supply overhang force market clearing at a lower price. It is entirely possible the Cartel will fail to agree on production cuts, in which case oil prices could re-test recent lows of $78/bbl in Brent and $74/bbl in WTI with an eye toward a $60-per-barrel handle for both.