By Charles Kennedy of OilPrice.com
Brent Crude prices could jump to well above $150 per barrel if Russia’s oil exports fall off a cliff in the coming months, according to Bank of America.
“With our $120/bbl Brent target now in sight, we believe that a sharp contraction in Russian oil exports could .... push Brent well past $150/bbl,” analysts at Bank of America (BofA) Global Research wrote in a research note on Friday carried by Reuters.
In a base-case scenario, Bank of America expects Brent Crude prices to average $104.48 a barrel this year and $100 a barrel in 2023.
Early on Friday, Brent Crude was trading at over $117 per barrel, the highest in two months, amid tight fuel supplies globally and bullish prospects of demand with the U.S. driving season beginning with the Memorial Day holiday weekend and Shanghai in China set for gradual reopening from June 1st.
There is a distinct possibility of a sharp drop in Russian oil exports as the EU continues to seek consensus and persuade Hungary to drop its opposition to a Russian oil embargo. Reports have it that some EU member states are inclined to accept a temporary exemption of Russian pipeline supply to central Europe via the Druzhba pipeline from the embargo as a bargaining chip to convince Hungary to agree to a ban on imports of Russian seaborne oil.
Russia is boosting supply to India and China, but Asian buyers are unlikely to be able to absorb all the Russian oil unwanted in the West, analysts say.
In its latest Oil Market Report this month, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated that Russia already shut in nearly 1 million bpd in April.
So far, Russian exports have held up, but as of May 15, the major international trading houses had to halt all transactions with state-controlled Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, and Transneft, the agency noted.
“Following a supply decline of nearly 1 mb/d in April, losses could expand to around 3 mb/d during the second half of the year,” the IEA said, referring to Russia’s oil supply.