Goldman Sees Oil Staying Lower for Longer to End Supply Glut

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says crude prices need to remain lower for a longer time to allow the oil market to find equilibrium amid a supply glut.

Storage may be filled by the fall with global crude oversupply running at 2 million barrels a day and low-cost producers continuing to boost output, Goldman analysts including Jeffrey Currie said in a report on Thursday. Low prices are needed to offset productivity gains and keep investment to a minimum, the report said.

Oil last month slumped the most since 2008 on signs the global surplus is persisting. Royal Dutch Shell Plc said in July it is braced for a prolonged downturn as the U.S. is producing near the fastest rate in three decades and OPEC’s largest members pump record volumes.

“The rebalancing of supply and demand will likely prove to be far more difficult than what was previously priced into the market,” Goldman said. “The risks remain substantially skewed to the downside.”

Even after the balance between supply and demand is restored by 2016, prices may not rebound as Iran emerges from sanctions and other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries seek to earn revenue by increasing output, Goldman said.

A price rebound earlier this year, when oil rallied 41 percent from a six-year low in March, was “self-defeating” as it reopened capital markets for oil producers and encouraged more drilling, according to the report.

WTI Target

The oil industry is struggling after making investments when crude was $100 a barrel, Goldman said.

“Energy companies at present cannot earn their cost of capital over the long term,” it said. “They are wealth-destroying propositions from the get go.”

Goldman maintained a near-term target for West Texas Intermediate of $45 a barrel.

WTI for September delivery fell 32 cents to $44.83 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 12:38 p.m. in London.

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