Oil prices are expected to oscillate close to current levels well into the next decade, averaging around $65-70 per barrel through 2023, according to an annual survey of energy professionals conducted by Reuters.
Despite the recent slump in oil prices, forecasts have edged down by less than $5 per barrel compared with the last annual survey conducted at the start of 2018 and have changed little over the last three years.
Long-term expectations for the average price of Brent crude remain anchored around $70 per barrel, close to the $72 average realised in 2018.
The results are based on the responses from just over 1,000 energy market professionals to a poll conducted between January 8 and January 11.
Brent prices in 2019 are expected to average $65 per barrel, unchanged from surveys in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
In 2020, Brent is also expected to average $65 per barrel, revised down by $5 or less compared with prior surveys.
Far fewer respondents now see any risk of prices spiking to $100 or more by the end of the decade as a surge in the United States shale output has eased fears of supply shortages.
The proportion of respondents expecting prices to average more than $90 in 2020 has fallen to just 3 percent this year, from 13 percent at the time of the 2016 survey.
By 2023, prices are still expected to average $70, with most forecasts between $60 and $80, which suggests most energy professionals think there will be enough production developed at this level to meet consumption growth.
Among survey respondents, 26 percent are involved directly in oil and gas production (exploration, drilling, production, refining, marketing and field services).
Most of the rest work in banking and finance (18 percent), research ( nine percent), professional services (nine percent), hedge funds (eight percent) and physical commodity trading (six percent).
The results from respondents involved directly in the oil and gas industry were similar to those in other sectors.