The global oil surplus is shrinking faster than expected and has the potential to send crude prices as high as $60 a barrel this year, according to Ali Majed Al Mansoori, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.
The surplus is down to 1.2 million to 1.5 million barrels a day and has “contracted faster than expected,” Mansoori said in a Bloomberg TV interview from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The IEA said last month that supply will exceed demand by an average of 1.3 million barrels a day in the first half of this year, and boosted its forecast for world demand by 100,000 barrels a day to 95.9 million barrels a day.
Brent crude has rallied more than 80 percent from a 12-year low in January as Nigeria and Canada experienced unexpected supply outages while Saudi Arabia’s energy minister has described demand as robust. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on Thursday not to limit production, with ministers united in their optimism that oil markets are improving. Abu Dhabi controls most of the oil reserves in the U.A.E., OPEC’s fourth-largest producer, and holds about 6 percent of world crude deposits.
“I believe the oil price today is not in equilibrium, I think a range from $55 to $60 could happen” this year, Mansoori said. “In general, the oil market, the dynamics of economic growth are pointing out that the oil recovery is on track and won’t see the $27 that we’ve seen in January.”
Brent crude was 35 cents higher at $49.99 a barrel at 7:45 a.m. in London. In January, prices fell as low as $27.10 a barrel.