Oil prices have been grinding higher and higher, spurring forecasters to predict they could hit $80 a barrel this year.

Oil is already trading at its highest levels in three years after a 22% gain for U.S. crude futures over the past 12 months, and some market watchers expect prices to take out new milestones as the rally continues in 2018.

On Wednesday, U.S. crude futures rose 0.97% to $63.57 a barrel and Brent, the global benchmark, was up 0.55% at $69.20 a barrel.

Byron Wien, vice chairman of the Private Wealth Solutions group at Blackstone, put $80 West Texas Intermediate on his annual list of 10 surprises in store for markets this year.

“Demand is going to continue to increase faster than supply,” he said in an interview. “It’s out of consensus, but people are underestimating the expanding middle class in the developing world and their resultant demand.”

Shrinking inventories, commitment by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut output through the year, and only modest production growth from outside the group could all also push prices higher, he said.

Read more: https://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2018/01/10/whispers-of-80-oil-are-g...

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Not surprised to see people touting these sort of prices, but the more realistic viewpoint would be see a downward spin back to around $60 and then a slow (and I mean very slow) increase over the rest of the year.

Max of $65-$66 by year end.

Just my opinion

Do you not see inventories dropping as low or do you think production will rise that quickly?

Barring unexpected international issues that would impact pricing, I see inventory shortages to be corrected by more aggressive drilling in horizontal plans. Operators are sitting on thousands of drilled yet unfrac'd wells. Plus thousands more lateral locations in multiple benches.

Lots of oil that can be quickly accessed and put into play.

Add in the addition of more frac crews and pumping capability so that there can be more completions of these wellbores.

Does anybody know who's drilling that well just the other side of my fence line?

Where is your fence line? I can check once I know location. Thanks

Hey, Marcus Aurelius Shavadius.  Happy 2018 to you.

Just a parody on some of the posts we used to see back in the high-traffic days of this forum.

You have demonstrated, however, your characteristic eager willingness to help any- and everybody who needs some oil-patch guidance.  Thanks.

As to the topic of this thread, I suppose we'll see international crises superimposed on the usual tug-o'-war between OPEC and the shale industry.  The IPO of Aramco will play a huge role, I expect.  An article in the most recent issue of The Economist says the pendulum has swung back to valuing cash in the bank higher than oil in the ground, which means everything else being equal more production putting a governor on price.  They say the recent runup has been driven by improved world economy.

Anyway, I do hope that price firming in the $60+/bbl range will stimulate some more EF drilling.  I am eager to see the benefits of some of the technological improvements.   I, too, am beginning to value cash in the bank more than oil in the ground (but not enough to jump at some of the offers I get in the mail from royalty buyers).

Hi James - long time no talk.

Agree about the international impact on prices and, in turn, drilling. I am also concerned about how much contractors will raise prices for their services. Drillers, frac companies and all other suppliers significantly dropped their prices to both "help out" their clients (and keep their business) as well as keep at least part of their crews busy.

Increase in oil prices will be paralleled by contractor costs increasing. The impact on economics for new wells is yet to be seen (and will not be easy to figure out).

Other issues that concern me are the lack of quality staff to man the rigs and frac crews and handle other service company effort. Many people that were laid off when prices tanked got into other lines of work. And it takes time to train new staff to handle various contractor services.

All very astute points, Mark.  Thanks.

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