Barclays upbeat on brent crude as geopolitical risk keeps prices buoyant

Suzie Neuwirth
(Source: Getty)

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) gave a cheerful outlook on the oil market in its latest monthly report, and now Barclays is getting in on the act.

Research today from the FTSE 100 bank said that it expects the brent oil price to stay above $105 (£62.40) per barrel on average this year - “well above [Opec’s] preferred price of $100 per barrel”.

Ongoing unrest in Libya, Iraq, Iran and Nigeria has reduced oil production, with 2.5m barrels per day currently offline in the four countries.

The price of brent crude went past $110 per barrel yesterday, after another outbreak of violence in Tripoli over the weekend prompted fears of more production problems in Libya.

“In essence it is these outages that result in a balanced oil market today and have run down spare capacity to the point where it makes up just around 3.5 per cent of global supply,” said the Barclays research.

“Given this lack of spare capacity and our expectation for demand to seasonally rebound during the second half of this year, we remain confident that Brent oil prices will stay above $105 per barrel on average for 2014.”

Saudia Arabia remains the largest producer of oil within Opec, with a 32.4 per cent market share. This is up 3.9 per cent from 2010, due to the reduced production from Libya, Iran and Nigeria.