Can oil hit $100 this year?

Commodities

Oil is undergoing a sustained rally. Reaching highs not seen since the start of the pandemic, key contracts are on an upward trajectory. Is it sustainable? Will we see an $100 oil price in 2021?

Oil trading

Oil prices retreated slightly on Monday morning from the previous week’s highs, but as of Tuesday growth was back on the cards.

WTI was trading at $72.90, while Brent contracts were being exchanged for $74.81. These are some of the highest levels seen in oil since before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.

While $80 is the target, especially from Goldman Sachs, some bullish commentators and traders are eyeing up a potential $100 oil price in 2021.
What was unthinkable at the start of the year, is now not outside of the realms of possibility. Many traders and market analysts are taking an ultra-bullish stance.

Lots of factors are at play here. Firstly, OPEC+ has firm control over global oil supplies. Its gradual reintroduction of more crude onto global markets has supported oil prices across 2021 so far. The cartel is keen not to fully open the taps until pre-pandemic oil demand is back.

Goldman Sachs’ oil outlook suggests oil demand will return to normal levels by Q4 2021, feeding into the bullish feeling. A delay in the Iran-US nuclear deal is keeping 1m bpd out of circulation, again supporting prices.

A dramatic drawdown was reported by the EIA in its inventories review for week ending June 11th. Stocks decreased by 7.4m barrels at the end of the review period – highlighting the US’ increasing thirst for crude.

Despite this, OPEC is confident US oil output growth will remain subdued for the rest of the year, even though the US rig count is up to 373 – the highest level since April 2020, according to Baker Hughes.

Natural gas trading

Scorching temperatures across the southern US and California were forecast to support natural gas prices at the start of the week as cooling demand season hits. In fact, reports from Texas and California suggest gas use spiked as homeowners and businesses cranked their AC to counter intense heat.

As of Monday, a tropical storm was brewing in the Gulf of Mexico which may threaten LNG infrastructure and export activity in Louisiana and create bearish conditions in that region.

Total gas stocks stand at 2.427 Tcf, down 453 Bcf from a year ago and 126 Bcf below the five-year average, according to the EIA natural gas storage inventories report for week ending June 11th.

From this, natural gas temperatures remain around the $3.22 level. Cooling season is a transitionary period for gas use, so expect to see fluctuations on prices throughout the hotter summer seasons and into autumn.