曹海斌 摘译自 能源新闻
Energy Sector Predictions For 2020
We begin 2020 with the stock market again testing record highs. We just finished a year in which oil prices rose by more than 30%. However, natural gas prices closed the year nearly 40% lower, emphasizing the extent to which these two commodities have become unlinked.
Oil is still the world’s most important commodity, so I always try to lead off with a prediction on the direction of oil prices. I generally make this prediction by looking at supply and demand trends, as well as inventory levels. I also usually do a sanity check of my prediction by reviewing predictions from other analysts.
Over the past few years, we started the year with an oil price that I felt was too low. So my prediction in recent years was for higher prices. This year, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) opened at $61.17 per barrel (bbl), and averaged $56.98/bbl for the year. The year has only started above $60/bbl one other time since the downturn of 2014-2015. In 2018 the year opened at $60.37/bbl, and it ran up to just over $75/bbl before ending the year below $50/bbl.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects crude oil prices to be lower on average this year, because of forecast rising global oil inventories in the first half of 2020.
In contrast, JP Morgan is projecting an oil market deficit this year of 200,000 BPD, because of OPEC production cuts and demand growth in emerging markets. They expect oil demand to grow by 1 million BPD globally, which is consistent with most other forecasts.
U.S. crude oil inventories are about average for this time of year. Global inventories are slightly below the five-year average.
I believe there is a disconnect in the oil market between expectations and reality. There are lots of expectations that we are on the cusp of peak oil demand, but in reality I think we are still several years from that. Nevertheless, those expectations are creating headwinds for oil prices. But the only way the market corrects those expectations is for crude inventories to decline. Given the strong growth in U.S. shale oil in recent years, that just hasn’t happened.
Ultimately, I believe OPEC will continue to cut production in order to prop up oil prices. I think U.S. shale production growth is going to continue to slow (next prediction), and that global oil demand will once again growth to a new record high.
But the oil markets looks to be pretty balanced this year on average. That argues for modest oil price movements. In any case, crude inventories aren’t high, and I believe OPEC will continue to cut production in order to prop up oil prices.
Some have called for oil prices to imminently collapse in the face of peak oil demand. I don’t believe prices will go much lower than they are presently in 2020.