OPEC sees rivals boosting oil output despite weak prices

Thu May 28, 2015 2:08am EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - The North American oil boom is proving resilient despite low oil prices, producer group OPEC said in its biggest and most detailed report this year, suggesting the global oil glut could persist for another two years.

A draft report of OPEC's long-term strategy, seen by Reuters ahead of the cartel's policy meeting in Vienna next week, forecast crude supply from rival non-OPEC producers would grow at least until 2017.

Sluggish global demand for oil means the call on OPEC's crude will fall from 30 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2014 to 28.2 million in 2017, effectively leaving the group with two options - cut output from current levels of 31 million bpd or be prepared to tolerate depressed oil prices for much longer.

"Since June 2014, oil prices have experienced a significant reduction, reaching levels even lower than the crisis experienced in 2008, yet non-OPEC supply is still showing some growth," the OPEC report said.

Brent crude has collapsed from $115 a barrel in June 2014 due to ample supplies amid a U.S. shale oil boom and a decision by OPEC last November not to cut output.

Instead the group chose to increase supply in a bid to win back market share and slow higher-cost competing producers.

But shale oil production has proved to be more resilient than many had originally thought.

"Generally speaking, for non-OPEC fields already in production, even a severe low price environment will not result in production cuts, since high-cost producers will always seek to cover a part of their operating costs," the OPEC report said.

"For future non-OPEC production, only expectations of an oil price environment in the long-term below the marginal cost of production may deter substantial non-OPEC developments. Over the very long term, the economic threshold at which oil companies invest in upstream projects likely reflects their long-term oil price expectations."   Continued...