The month of December saw OPEC Reference Basket (ORB) average $62.06/b , its highest since June 2015. On the yearly basis, the ORB averaged $52.43/b, a gain of 29 percent or US $11.67/b over the previous year, according the OPEC January Market Review.
Oil prices received wide-ranging support from production adjustment resulting from the Declaration of Cooperation (DoC), strong economic and demand growth, as well as sentiment in the financial markets.
ICE Brent increased $1.23 at $64.09/b, while NYMEX WTI increased $1.28 at $57.95/b. The spread between ICE Brent and NYMEX WTI spread narrowed slightly to $6.15/b in December. The Brent, WTI and Dubai market structure held backwardation. Sweet/sour differentials widened in Europe and Asia, and narrowed in the US Gulf Coast.
The global GDP growth forecast remains at 3.7 percent for both 2017 and 2018. In the meantime, global oil demand growth in 2017 was revised upward by 40 tb/d to stand at 1.57 mb/d, averaging 96.99 mb/d for 2017. The upward revision was broadly a result of better-than-expected data for OECD Europe and China.
For 2018, oil demand growth is anticipated to be around 1.53 mb/d, following a marginal upward adjustment compared to last month’s report, with global oil demand now expected to reach 98.51 mb/d. Non-OECD economies will contribute 1.24 mb/d of the demand growth expected in 2018.
Non-OPEC oil supply growth in 2017 has been revised marginally lower to now stand at 0.77 mb/d. The adjustments were mostly due to revisions in the actual data for 4Q17. For 2018, non-OPEC supply growth was revised up by 0.16 mb/d to now stand at 1.15 mb/d, driven by mostly higher growth expectations for the US and Canada. OPEC NGLs are also expected to grow by 0.18 mb/d in 2018, compared to 0.17 mb/d growth in the previous year. OPEC production in December, according to secondary sources, is expected to increase by 42 tb/d to average 32.42 mb/d.
OPEC crude in 2017 is estimated at 32.9 mb/d, which is 0.6 mb/d higher than 2016. In 2018, OPEC crude is projected at 33.1 mb/d, about 0.2 mb/d higher than in the previous year.