Citi’s Seth Kleinman has a pretty sweeping note today, titled “The End Is Nigh,” in which he argues crude oil demand — and with it, prices — are is set to fall dramatically in the coming decade thanks to the rise of natural gas and more advanced fuel economies.
And the trend is worldwide. Kleinman on gas:
One of the many unforeseen ripple effects of the US shale revolution is a push to substitute natural gas for oil. This is set to accelerate with LNG already challenging diesel’s 13 mb/d heavy duty truck use globally but especially in China, bunker’s 3.7 mb/d seaborne market, and CNG and propane set for exponential growth not only in markets such as Brazil, Egypt, Iran and India, but in Russia and the US as well.
Oil-based power generation is increasingly being replaced by gas-fired generation. As much as 2 mb/d of power generation demand in the Middle East in total could be switched to natural gas by the end of the decade, and the increasing availability of LNG towards end-decade could back out other oil for power generation needs in India and Latin America amongst others.
And on fuel economy:
Higher prices, the removal of many fuel subsidies and rising fuel economy mandates have dramatically improved the outlook for fuel efficiency in global automotive and truck fleets. Citi’s automobiles team estimates that new car fuel efficiency is now improving by 3-4% p.a., with trucks managing 1-2%. As cars make up ≈60% of the total global road fleet we conservatively estimate that new vehicles (cars and trucks combined) fuel economy increases by 2.5% p.a.
Here’s the key chart showing global demand forecasts.
CitiKleinman concludes that the oil price spikes of the late ’00s were basically a fluke:
The structural bull market of the previous decade was a result of surging global oil demand and consistently disappointing non-OPEC supply growth, compounded by a collapse in Iraqi and Venezuelan production. The outlook for each of these factors has now reversed, reinforcing Citi Research’s long term view that by the end of the decade Brent prices are likely to hover within a range of $80-90/bbl.
The shale boom’s effects are still rippling across the globe.
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