• Focus Area Future of Global Oil Markets Future of Global Oil Markets
  • Type Workshop brief
  • Date 6 July 2015


Since the OPEC meeting on November 27, 2014, world attention has focused on the U.S. shale oil producers, their financiers and how quickly they will throttle back their production due to low oil prices. U.S. producers are now considered by many to have taken over the role of the major marginal supplier of oil, replacing OPEC. Clearly, the rapid growth of shale production in the U.S. has been a major disruptive factor in global oil markets over the past few years. Although at first American tight oil production cancelled out unplanned disruptions elsewhere in the world and kept prices relatively stable for a number of years, its spectacular growth also altered crude and oil product flows–leading to a new globalization of the oil product market–and shifted the perceived situation in the oil market from scarcity to abundance. African light oil producers had to seek other markets for their oil, while producers of sour crudes also saw their North American market shrink. With demand for crude and oil products weakening in the summer of 2014, and Libyan production resuming (though this proved to be temporary), the global market was in oversupply.

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