‘Wall of Supply’ to Block Oil Rally at $55, Goldman Sachs Says

  • Market to remain ‘very oversupplied’ in 2017: Jeff Currie
  • Shale, Nigeria, start-up of major projects swelling surplus

Goldman's Currie Sees 2017 Oil Market 'Very Oversupplied'

Oil’s rally will stall at $55 a barrel as U.S. shale drillers get back to work and a “wall of supply” from investments made over the past decade hits the market, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.

Global oil markets are set to remain “very oversupplied” in 2017 amid the return of disrupted output in Nigeria and Libya, resilient U.S. shale production and the start of major projects commissioned over the past 10 years, Goldman’s head of commodities research Jeff Currie said in a Bloomberg television interview.

Jeff Currie

Photographer: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg

“We’re still seeing a lot of oil enter this market,” Currie said in an interview with Tom Keene and Francine Lacqua. “It’s hard for this market to go above $55.”

U.S. oil futures climbed to a three-month high in New York on Wednesday, trading at $49.54 a barrel at 7:09 a.m. local time.

“The sweet spot is 2017” for supplies coming from new projects reaching world markets, Currie said. The outlook for an oversupplied market next year drove OPEC’s announcement in Algiers last week that it will cap production at 32.5 million to 33 million barrels a day, he added.

Shale producers are hedging their output as soon as prices climb to a range of $50 to $55 a barrel, allowing them to continue drilling, Currie said. The number of rigs targeting crude in the U.S. has risen for a fifth week to the highest since February, Baker Hughes Inc. said Sept. 30.

While investment in new oil supply has been cut, any shortage in the market is “years off,” Currie said. A “bull state,” where output shortfalls push prices above $100 a barrel, couldn’t happen before 2019 or 2020, he said. Oil futures haven’t traded above $100 since 2014.

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