March 13, 2021

Brent crude stays near $70 as demand optimism lends support

categories : oil and gas

Vienna-based Opec expects demand for oil to rise in the second half of the year, driven by a broader global economic recovery

Brent crude prices eased on Friday but hovered near $70 a barrel as production cuts by major oil producers constrained supply, with optimism about a recovery in demand for the resource in the second half of the year also lending support.

Sentiment was also buoyed by the decision of Opec and its allies, a group known as Opec+, earlier this month to largely hold production cuts in April.

Investors have been pumping funds into commodities such as oil on expectations of a demand recovery in the second half of the year as the global economy grows, while a wider rollout of vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic allows more people to travel this summer.

At current prices, most US onshore operators are economic, leaving a vast group of operators, from large public companies to private players, in a good position to ramp up activity in the second half of 2021

JP Morgan

'Assuming vaccination programmes are successful, we expect pent-up demand for gasoline to be released this summer during the US and European driving season,' FGE analysts said in a note.

RBC Capital analysts said the fundamentals for summer gasoline is the most bullish in nearly a decade.

'We think this will support the entire oil complex this summer and beyond.'

Vienna-based Opec said on Thursday it expects demand for oil to rise in the second half of this year, driven by a broader global economic recovery.

The US, the world's largest oil consumer, saw a massive draw on gasoline stocks last week as the winter storm in Texas disrupted refining output.

Oil prices sustained at higher levels are expected to draw US producers to increase output, JP Morgan analysts said in their weekly note.

'At current prices, most US onshore operators are economic, leaving a vast group of operators, from large public companies to private players, in a good position to ramp up activity in the second half of 2021 and build solid momentum for higher volumes in 2022,' JP Morgan said.

The bank now expects US crude oil production to average 11.78 million barrels per day in December 2021, up 0.7 million bpd annually, with the full year volume to average 11.36 million bpd compared with 11.32 million bpd in 2020.

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