Measurement and Testing
Oil in the 2010s: Prices
Jan 01 2020 Read 606 Times
As always, the past decade has been a rollercoaster ride for the oil industry. Prices have climbed and plummeted, though as the 2010s draw to a close, analysts expect to see one of the biggest annual price rises in four years, ending the decade on a positive note. Read on for a glimpse of the oil price
2010 saw the oil industry slump early, with prices dropping from US$88 to US$70 in a matter of weeks during May. The drop was partly caused by concerns over how European nations would address budget deficits, and if this would affect demand. By December prices had climbed back up to US$90 a barrel.
Overall, 2013 was a positive year for oil producers, with Brent rising to above US$110 per barrel in the first quarter. This was largely fuelled by a positive mood in both the US and European economies. Lower supplies, sanctions against Iran and production issues in Egypt continued to support higher prices well into 2013.
2016 hit the oil industry hard, with the price of WTI dropping to US$32.53 a barrel in early January, marking an alarming 11-year low. While OPEC petitioned for production cuts, it didn't stop US crude from later tumbling to US$26.05 a barrel. The industry had partially recovered by the end of the year, with Brent reaching US$57.89 and WTI climbing to US$54.51.
2018 saw both WTI and Brent crude start trading at above US$60 for the first time since 2014, a positive trend that was largely influenced by low inventories and a colder than usual winter. The upward momentum continues with the risk of Iranian sanctions, lower production in Venezuela and efforts by OPEC to cut output. The second half of 2018 wasn't as sweet, with WTI falling to as low as US$45.59 a barrel in December and Brent following suit with a drop to US$53.82.
In 2019, WTI averaged US$56.9 per barrel while Brent crude averaged US$$64.3 per barrel. While the market hasn't exactly stabilised, analysts are optimistic 2019 will mark the biggest annual price increase since 2016, with Brent gaining around 24% and WTI rising by around 36%.
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