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Probably, the main issue of concern now not only for oil traders, but also everyone who at least somehow follows the global economy is what will happen to oil prices.

The main intrigue lies in the opposition of OPEC + and the USA. If the former so far demonstrate a sufficient level of collectivism and successfully reduce the total volume of production, the latter take leading positions on the world oil market, reaping the fruits of the shale revolution.

The results of trading in the coming year showed a slight increase in quotations after reports about the most significant decline in production in OPEC countries in two years. The cost of the March futures for Brent crude increased by $ 0.15 (0.27%), to $ 55.06 a barrel. Earlier in the course of trading, Brent rose to $ 56.30 a barrel. Last month, oil production by all OPEC countries declined by a maximum of almost two years, according to a survey conducted by Bloomberg among traders and analysts, as well as the data on the movement of tankers. In December, OPEC reduced oil production by 530,000 barrels per day.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the largest US oil and gas companies are planning to increase spending in the next 12 months, despite a sharp drop in oil prices in the 4th quarter of 2018, according to a survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) of Dallas. More than half (53%) of respondents intend to increase capital investment rates from “weak” to “substantial”. At the same time, 45% of top managers of the oil industry called the main goal for 2019 the increase in production volumes and production capacity.
Respondents expect an increase in the price of WTI by the end of 2019 on average to $ 59.97 per barrel, the answers ranged from $ 45 to $ 80 per barrel. At the time of the survey, the nearest contract for North American oil was on average $ 49 per barrel.

The prospects for shale oil for 2019 are not all clear. According to many American analysts, the unstable situation with oil prices will lead to the fact that in 2019, the US energy industry, which is based on oil shale projects, will have to tighten their belts for a while: a number of projects will be underfunded and will not expand Some will conserve, others will close. According to them, in April the industry will feel a positive effect from the revision of the OPEC deal, the situation will stabilize, and a new round of shale revolution will begin. Stop the continuation of the shale boom in the United States can unless the fall in the cost of WTI crude oil to $ 25 per barrel, but it is unlikely the world's largest producers will allow quotes to fall so low.
It can be assumed that a real prospect appeared for American manufacturers not only to break into absolute leaders in the extraction and export of energy resources, but also to gain a foothold there for a long time, overtaking the main competitors - Russia and Saudi Arabia. Already in September, the United States mined about 11.5 million barrels a day, while Russia had 11.4 million barrels, and Saudi Arabia had 10.5 million, the Energy Information Agency at the US Ministry of Energy reported.

Oil production in the USA continues to increase even now, but the growth is not so rapid. According to the American oil and gas service company Baker Hughes, a GE Company (BHGE), the number of oil rigs involved in the country for the week ending December 28, grew by only two - to 885 units. This is lower than the average for the year (about 2.7 rigs per day). In the US market at the moment there is a correction, which could lead to a crisis in the industry, which will hit, first of all, on new projects.

An additional factor of pressure on the American oil sector was the increase in the Fed's rates to 2.25-2.5%. This means that the cost of borrowing for recently launched projects that require large investments increases significantly. In 2018, the rate rose four times, for the next year two more increases are predicted. Bank of America analysts Merrill Lynch in their review for investors also point to the vulnerability of the commodity sector to the strengthening of the dollar.

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