Moody’s Investors Service has reduced its price estimates for Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate crude amid continued oversupply in the oil markets and the risk of additional supply from Iran.
Moody’s has lowered its price estimate in 2016 for both Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, the North American benchmark, to $33/barrel (bbl). For Brent, this marks a $10/bbl reduction from the rating agency’s previous estimate, and for WTI, a $7/bbl reduction. Moody’s expects that both prices will rise by $5/bbl on average in 2017 and 2018.
“OPEC countries continue high levels of production in the battle for market share, contributing to the current oil glut despite moderate consumption growth by key consumers such as China, India and the US,” said Terry Marshall, a Moody’s Senior Vice President. “In addition, we expect the rise in Iranian oil output this year to offset or exceed production cuts in the US.”
Moody’s maintains its price estimates for North American natural gas prices at Henry Hub at $2.25 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2016, $2.50/MMBtu in 2017 and $2.75/MMBtu in 2018. Moody’s also maintains its price estimates for natural gas liquids (NGLs) at $12/bbl of oil equivalent (boe) in 2016, $13.50/boe in 2017 and $15/boe in 2018.
Ongoing increases in OPEC oil production offset growing global demand of about 1.4 million barrels per day, according to the US Energy Information Administration, leading to a rapid build-up of oil inventories.
“Today’s large global inventories will still take time to unwind and will continue to drag on prices even as demand picks up,” added Marshall.
Moody’s price estimates are likely to be revised during the year based upon updated information on market fundamentals and futures prices. For example, Moody’s $33 estimate of the average price realized per barrel during 2016 implies an upward trend from current spot prices to a price meaningfully higher than $33 by year-end. Moody’s would be likely to lower this estimate if such an upward trend were not to materialize over the next several months, the agency said.