February 25, 2019 / 8:30 AM / in 3 months

Goldman Sachs says near-term oil view modestly bullish on tightening market

FILE PHOTO: A worker checks the valve of an oil pipe at an oil field owned by Russian state-owned oil producer Bashneft near the village of Nikolo-Berezovka, northwest of Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia January 28, 2015. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

(Reuters) - The near-term outlook for oil is modestly bullish as the market continues to tighten significantly, Goldman Sachs said on Monday, helped by the impact of output cuts by producers in the Organization of Petroleum Export Countries (OPEC) and Russia.

The upside potential for benchmark Brent crude prices exceeds the near-term outlook of $67.50/bbl and could easily trade between $70 and $75 per barrel, the U.S. bank said in a research note.

OPEC and its allies, including Russia, agreed in December to cut oil production steeply under a global supply deal to prevent a glut this year.

The OPEC-led cuts as well as U.S. sanctions against Iran’s and Venezuela’s oil exports pushed oil prices to 2019 highs last week. [O/R]

International Brent crude oil futures were at $66.96 a barrel at 0806 GMT, down 0.2 percent, from their last close. They ended Friday little changed after touching their highest since Nov. 16 at $67.73 a barrel. [O/R]

However, the bank said, bullishness needs to be tempered looking into the second half of 2019, anticipating an impact from U.S. shale exports and OPEC potentially relaxing production curbs.

“Saudi (Arabia) has been vocal in suggesting markets will be re-balanced before June, implying further supply cuts are not needed during second half of 2019,” Goldman analysts wrote.

“Long-dated oil prices will likely remain under pressure below $60/bbl Brent and $55/bbl WTI due to the (output cut) exit strategy,” the bank said.

Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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