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Alex Kemp

Opinion

What can we expect for North Sea oil sector in 2019?

The year 2018 exhibited several major changes to the operating environment for the North Sea oil industry.  The dramatic fluctuation in oil prices was an obvious and key feature.  Starting at around $60 in January the Brent price climbed to a peak of around $85 in late October and then fell dramatically to below $60 at the time of writing.  The increase was fostered by threats of severe sanctions against Iran by the US Government plus continued stagnation of production in Venezuela.  The subsequent granting of many waivers to the sanctions plus evidence of continued growth in US production and signs of weakening world demand growth produced the dramatic fall in recent weeks.  The announcement of production cuts of 1.2 million barrels per day by OPEC and collaborating countries, particularly Russia, produced only a minor increase in the price.  The future outlook is very unclear.  For example, sanctions on Iran could be tightened at some future date.