Alexander Shpilman, Director of Shpilman Brothers LLC, told the Agency of Oil and Gas Information about his forecast of the oil market situation in the nearest future.
- Oil can fall to $5 a barrel only in the short term, for one day at a time. In fact, derivatives (financial derivatives) and futures are sold on stock markets. One ton of oil can be sold an average of seven to eight times, according to economists' estimates. Therefore, it is possible for speculators to lower the price as much as they like, but for a day.
If we talk about forecasts, the price of oil will not fall below the level of the cost of producing one ton of it, including all the costs of both transportation and preparation. Even for Saudi Arabia with very low costs, it is impossible to reach a price of $5. However, at $20 the same Saudi Arabia can produce oil. But you have to understand that these are different rocks, so in Russia these costs are higher. In our country, the price of $20, if you remove taxes, will be some limit of profitability for most of the fields.
At the same time in Russia, like in other oil countries, there are very high taxes on oil, which largely form the budget. And this level of budget burden makes the cost of producing black gold so high, in fact it is much lower. But it is impossible to cancel it. In Russia, there will be an economic collapse, if you remove all the oil revenues that form the budget.
Meanwhile, I think the price of oil will rather quickly return to above $40 and even $50 per barrel, if we're talking about Brent.
This price level makes it possible to produce shale oil, to develop heavy oil in Venezuela, the Athabasca oil sands, the Bazhenov formation shale oil - that is the types of oil that are considered unconventional reserves and where development costs are much higher. If such oil leaves the market, the price will go up; it is a regulated market, but due to the speculative nature of oil sales, it is very volatile.
So my advice would be to buy oil now at $25 and you will be very rich in a year, because the price will go up during that time.
Of course, the effects of the coronavirus epidemic are also affecting the price of oil. People have become much less likely to drive, to fly, and that's all fuel, and therefore oil consumption, which is now falling. And this situation will last for another three to four months. Then the industry will recover, because people still want to move around the country and the world.
In the meantime, the market will be subject to fluctuating movements. And this could lead to various consequences, including a reduction of oil production by Russia, not by half, but by 10-15%. There would be no fundamental changes in such a cut, but it would allow prices to stabilize.
This is why, in my opinion, one should not be oriented at $5 in the future; we should rely on a price of at least $40 per barrel.
The Americans are panicking when they suggest such an outcome. But they are very worried about their shale oil, which costs more than $30 a barrel. So for their industry to exist, they need to worry.
Our oil companies are having a hard time, too. But it's not about the price of oil or production cuts. They're working the way they've been working. You won't notice any difference in production these days. But the oil business and services themselves have big problems. And first of all, because of the impossibility to communicate. Service companies are not allowed to work; some of them stopped sending shifts to the North. Of course, this isolation is necessary, but for business it is extremely unpleasant. And the sooner this situation is resolved the better.
If everything calms down in two or three months, as most experts are now predicting, speaking of June or July, there will be a lot to restore. And it will be hard work. That's the whole problem. But it's not just the oil workers; everyone is facing it now. In 2020 we will have a long time to eliminate these consequences, but it has nothing to do with the price of oil, rather it is a problem related to isolation and inability to move.