Skip to Content
Stock Strategist Industry Reports

Oil Markets' Fundamentals Improving, but U.S. Shale Still Looms

Recent rig additions could weaken the recovery's strength.

Mentioned: , , , , , ,

Crude markets have tightened a good deal in recent months, as strong demand growth and supply issues have pulled forward the industry recovery by about a year relative to our previous outlook. Fundamentals after 2017 are looking particularly bullish for prices, and an oil price rally in 2018 is looking more and more likely. We’ve raised our 2018 West Texas Intermediate forecast to $65 per barrel.

Even so, the strength of U.S. shale is lurking beneath the surface. Our analysis shows that the recent uptick in rigs and falling shale decline rates together are enough to stabilize U.S. crude production within six months. If activity isn’t scaled back, U.S. production will begin growing in 2017, albeit barely. This underscores the strength of U.S. tight oil: Should a price rally ensue, it is far too strong to not overheat and eventually snuff out any future oil price rally. We remain bearish on oil prices longer term, and we reiterate our midcycle oil price outlook of $55 WTI ($60 Brent).

Stephen Simko does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.

Transparency is how we protect the integrity of our work and keep empowering investors to achieve their goals and dreams. And we have unwavering standards for how we keep that integrity intact, from our research and data to our policies on content and your personal data.

We’d like to share more about how we work and what drives our day-to-day business.

We sell different types of products and services to both investment professionals and individual investors. These products and services are usually sold through license agreements or subscriptions. Our investment management business generates asset-based fees, which are calculated as a percentage of assets under management. We also sell both admissions and sponsorship packages for our investment conferences and advertising on our websites and newsletters.

How we use your information depends on the product and service that you use and your relationship with us. We may use it to:

  • Verify your identity, personalize the content you receive, or create and administer your account.
  • Provide specific products and services to you, such as portfolio management or data aggregation.
  • Develop and improve features of our offerings.
  • Gear advertisements and other marketing efforts towards your interests.

To learn more about how we handle and protect your data, visit our privacy center.

Maintaining independence and editorial freedom is essential to our mission of empowering investor success. We provide a platform for our authors to report on investments fairly, accurately, and from the investor’s point of view. We also respect individual opinions––they represent the unvarnished thinking of our people and exacting analysis of our research processes. Our authors can publish views that we may or may not agree with, but they show their work, distinguish facts from opinions, and make sure their analysis is clear and in no way misleading or deceptive.

To further protect the integrity of our editorial content, we keep a strict separation between our sales teams and authors to remove any pressure or influence on our analyses and research.

Read our editorial policy to learn more about our process.