Saudi Arabia will ‘come out on top’ in oil markets, JP Morgan predicts

Saudi Arabia will see its share of the market rise from the current level of 11.6% to around 15%: JP Morgan

  
An oil tanker is being loaded at Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia May 21, 2018. Image used for illustrative purpose.

An oil tanker is being loaded at Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia May 21, 2018. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s strategy in the oil market has won a vote of confidence from the American investment bank JP Morgan, which predicts the Kingdom will “come out on top” in the global energy business.

“Saudi Arabia will come out on top in the fight for market share as non-OPEC and US production fades,” JP Morgan analyst Chrystian Malek said in a report on the oil industry, which suggested that Saudi Arabia will see a large increase in its share of the international oil market as the American shale industry weakens and production declines from outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The Kingdom, which has been leading global efforts to stabilize the global oil market in the wake of an unprecedented decline in demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will see its share of the market rise from the current level of 11.6 per cent to around 15 per cent — its highest level since the 1980s — by 2025, JPM said.

Oil production from the US shale fields, which propelled America to its position as the biggest producer in the world in 2019, is forecast to rise only slightly to 11m barrels a day this year. Before the crash in oil prices in March and April, US shale oil was expected to climb steadily to reach 17m barrels per day over the next decade.

Oil prices are down around 40 percent so far this year, but have recovered from historic lows in April after Saudi Arabia and Russia — via the OPEC+ alliance — orchestrated record cuts in output in April. Just last weekend, the deal was extended and tough new guidelines introduced to ensure oil producers comply with the new regime.

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, said: “Through our commitment to a proactive policy, within a cohesive and collective framework, we are restoring confidence to global oil markets. We have grounds to be optimistic about the future.”

JP Morgan expects demand to increase sharply in the second half of this year, for an average of 91m barrels per day for 2020. This is down from the 100m barrels per day the world was consuming before the pandemic first hit global economies. That level will only resume in November of next year, JP Morgan predicted.

With oil prices currently at comparatively low levels, capital expenditure in oil will be cut back, JP Morgan said, which could create a “supercycle” from 2022, leading to falling supply and a surge in crude prices.

JP Morgan is the biggest bank in the world measured by profits, and has been a partner of Saudi Arabia for many years, having helped fund the original investment in the oil industry in the 1930s.

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