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  • May 15th, 2015

$100 oil not entirely off the table

While OPEC reportedly believes oil will stay below $100 per barrel over the next decade, strategist Helima Croft on Monday said $100 oil is not entirely off the table during that time.

She thinks crude can shoot back up if there is a major supply disruption in a Middle Eastern country.

“You’ve got four wars going on there,” the chief commodities strategist of RBC Capital Markets said

“So I would think it would be geopolitics that would push prices higher.”

The OPEC prediction was revealed in a draft report by the cartel, seen by The Wall Street Journal.

Its most optimistic scenario forecasts that oil will sell for around $76 a barrel in 10 years’ time, according to the report.

Croft pointed out that there are some OPEC members that would like to see oil back above $100, such as Venezuela, Nigeria, Ecuador and Iraq.

However, she said Saudi Arabia “would fear $100 oil because you’d incentivize North American production.”

OPEC has refused to cut its output after the 60 percent crash in oil prices that began last June. Brent and U.S. crude prices have partially recovered from the lows seen earlier this year.

One important factor to watch is Iraq, Croft said.

“Iraq is supposed to account for 40 percent of new supply growth over the coming decade. If Iraqi production doesn’t meet those targets the market will tighten,” she noted.

John Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital, said the OPEC forecast is plausible on the basic supply-demand dynamic.

However, he agrees with Croft that the Middle East is “an unstable region” and said $100 oil is “totally imaginable.”

“We sit there on the one hand and see all this potential overproduction or significant rises in production,” Kilduff said. “But then … the upset in the region is just so incredibly easy to occur.”

He pointed out that nothing is forever in the oil market.

“These things come in cycles. This is a boom-bust industry,” said Kilduff. “Right now what you are seeing happen is what the Saudis said they were going to do. They were going to squeeze out the margin producers, the more expensive producers and it’s working.”

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