Aussie oil stocks had the audacity to hope, but 2019’s looking a bit rubbish
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It’s that time of year when analysts put their reputations on the line and make forecasts, and UBS is running the ruler over oil.
Their verdict for 2019? Fairly dull.
The investment bank reckons oil prices, which have been tumbling since October, will be around $70 a barrel for the next year.
Currently the US benchmark WTI is at $US52 ($72) and the North Sea marker Brent is at $US61 ($83).
US sanctions on Iran, which took effect in November, combined with Saudi Arabia’s production cuts, will give prices a tiny boost in the first half of next year, but a new pipeline in the US de-bottlenecking production from the permian basin will weigh in the second half.
Generally producers like Triangle Energy (ASX:TEG) and Buru (ASX:BRU) can expect more modest pricing than they’ve enjoyed this year.
UBS is picking earnings-per-share downgrades and lower revenues for oil producers as the lower oil price bites.
It says $70 a barrel is necessary to spur investment, but right now the majors, including Santos (ASX:STO), Oil Search (ASX:OSH) and Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) are getting $48-60 a barrel.
Oil prices began rising around the middle of 2017 when production cuts instituted by OPEC to lift prices began to make themselves felt.
Prices for both benchmarks peaked in October.
“By mid-2018 global oil markets had rebalanced with producers successful in reducing OECD inventory below the five year average. However 2H18 showed how challenging it is to maintain the balance,” UBS analysts said in a research note.
“We increase our 2020/21 forecast oil prices (to $US73 a barrel and $US72 a barrel respectively) to reflect a pull-back in investment in supply in 2018-19 but maintain long term view of $US70 a barrel.”