Gas markets may diverge from crude in 2017

By Peter Stewart 14 December 2016
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Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak (left) and his Saudi counterpart, Khalid Al-Falih, after the meeting on 10 December. (PA) Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak (left) and his Saudi counterpart, Khalid Al-Falih, after the meeting on 10 December. (PA)

Last January, the oil price was dropping like a stone. The lifting of Iranian sanctions was expected to worsen the glut that had resulted from Saudi Arabia’s decision in late 2014 to abandon the swing producer role it had held for 15 years. Oil and gas producers stopped drilling, US shale producers stopped completing wells, and some companies went bankrupt. High stocks hung over the market like the grim reaper.

“What a difference a year makes,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) commented in its latest monthly oil market report. Crude oil prices have now doubled from the year’s lows. Looking forward to 2017, the market is expected to stabilise in the $55-65 per barrel range.

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