NEW YORK – Nearly half of all U.S. oil and gas company executives expect Brent crude oil prices to remain below $60 a barrel this year, and a third believe price volatility will extend into 2016, according to a KPMG survey released Wednesday.
The survey, which canvassed nearly 200 U.S. senior energy executives, comes amid an oil industry slowdown caused by oversupply and spiraling prices, and as the oil market mulls whether prices and activity will rebound in the coming months.
The survey showed that 45 percent of respondents expect an average Brent price of between $50 and $59 a barrel this year. Thus far Brent has averaged $57.59 a barrel and was trading at around $67 on Wednesday, according to Reuters data.
This represents a major change from last year, when 94 percent of executives expected the oil price would be $100 or higher. Brent crude averaged around $108 from 2011 to 2014.
Wednesday’s survey showed that 24 percent of executives polled expect oil prices to average $60-$69 a barrel this year.
“The recent collapse in oil prices is an issue on the mind of every energy executive, as it caused a ripple effect that has had profound implications across the entire oil and gas value chain,” said Regina Mayor, advisory industry leader for energy and natural resources at KPMG LLP.
Brent oil prices dropped from over $115 a barrel to $45 a barrel between June and January as supply swamped the global market. Prices have since rebounded to around $67, raising the prospect of a recovery toward the end of this year or next.
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