On the up?

Oil Price 1Q May 2015

The oil price has bounced back a bit in recent weeks, with prices up to around $65 per barrel for Brent Crude compared to lows in January of less than $50.

This is despite Saudi Arabia shipping more crude in March than in any month since November 2005 as reported in this article from Downstream Today.

What is interesting is the deliberate intention of Saudi Arabia to squeeze other oil producers around the World, notably the US, Russia and Iran.

This article quotes a Saudi official talking to the FT and saying;

“There is no doubt about it, the price fall of the last several months has deterred investors away from expensive oil including US shale, deep offshore and heavy oils.”

It also reports that while Saudi Arabia increased oil production to 10.31 million barrels of oil per day in April,

“the number of rigs running in the US has dropped by 60 per cent as companies have either sought to cut costs in response to lower oil prices or have simply gone out of business.”

Good news for consumers; although the period of cheap petrol didn’t seem to last long in the UK it does seem to be translating into cheaper food prices – as highlighted by the UK inflation figure dropping to -0.1% yesterday. But bad news for those in the industry that are seeing a marked slow-down in new projects coming through.

A Dangerous Game

petrol fillup

As the price of oil continues to fall, pump prices are bringing some relief to consumers and businesses, but it seems the Saudi strategy of driving down prices to gain market share is a dangerous one to play as THIS ARTICLE in the DT today points out.

From a personal perspective, lower prices also adds uncertainty to new Oil & Gas Projects and implies that 2015 could be a quiet year in the Engineering sector.