Oil industry loses fear factor but finds little to cheer

30 Sep 2017   Prices

As traders and producers gathered in Singapore this week for Asia’s biggest oil event, you might have expected a bit more optimism. Oil prices reached their highest level in two years on the first day of the event as a succession of traders and analysts told the assembled crowds that global crude demand was soaring, helping to bring to an end the three-year glut that had devastated much of the industry. But while pessimism no longer abounds, it was difficult to find many who were prepared to bet crude could far surpass today’s levels of about $60 a barrel. So bruised were the executives at the event by oil’s crash from $100 a barrel that few could bring themselves to predict much brighter days ahead for the industry. “There’s little prospect of significantly higher prices in the short term,” said Peg Mackey, a senior oil market analyst at the International Energy Agency. A snap poll conducted by price reporting agency S&P Global Platts showed that two-thirds of conference attendees thought crude would hold in a narrow range of between $50 and $60 a barrel in the coming year, exactly where it was today.

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