Oil Price Forecast: Prices Continue To Fall As Goldman Sachs Slashes Forecasts

Both Brent and US crude are at their lowest level since April 2009 and have fallen for seven straight weeks. Global oil prices fell by more than $1 a barrel on Monday morning as analysts at Goldman Sachs lowered its short-term forecast. The investment banking firm had held off on lowering their oil forecasts after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided not to cut their supply in November until now, when they cut their average forecast for Brent in 2015 to $50.40 a barrel from $83.75 and lowered their forecast for US crude to $47.15 from $73.75. In the report, Goldman Sachs said that oil prices would need to stay near $40 for most of the first half of 2015 before it would hold up shale oil investments.

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New oil and gas well permits plunged nearly 40% in November compared to October due to the fall in crude oil prices. Many believed this pointed to a potential slowdown in the shale oil and gas boom that brought the US into competition with Saudi Arabia as the world’s top crude producer. The sharp drop in a single month is not as reliable a sign of a pullback on production than consistent drops over three months. The sharp drop indicates that producers are focusing on high-producing wells and backing off marginal areas.

In other oil news, refineries in Ohio and Pennsylvania were hit by fires over the weekend, threatening to add to a growing glut of crude by reducing demand from the two sizable plants, including the largest on the US East Coast. Meanwhile, Venezuela said in a statement on Sunday that it had agreed with Saudi Arabia to work towards a recovery in the oil market and oil prices. Saudi Arabia, which is the world’s largest oil exporter, has said it won’t support prices by cutting production. In the last OPEC meeting in November, the country ignored calls from smaller producers, including Venezuela, to react to falling prices.

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