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作者: 来源: 日期:2016/12/5 9:26:34

This deal is the beginning of the end for Opec





The deal agreed by Opec members this week will come to symbolise the passing of one of the world’s most powerful cartels. After 50 years in control of the oil price, Opec has submitted to the economic power of a much-changed global market. The deal represents the recognition of their own impotence by a group of countries that once held unchallenged power.



The agreement to cut production from January by 1.2m barrels a day raised prices on the world market by almost 10 per cent. The net result was a global price for Brent crude, the international benchmark, of $52 a barrel — up a few dollars from the previous day but still down almost 50 per cent from two years ago.



What should investors and consumers make of all this? First, consider the modesty of the increase in prices. This is not a deal capable of lifting prices to the level of $60 or $70 a barrel that is supposed to be Opec’s target. The market is obviously sceptical about delivery. Will Iran limit its production when it desperately needs increased output and revenue to sustain its economy? Will Russia actually cut output by 300,000 b/d? When did Russia last participate in an Opec quota exercise? Answer: never.



Second, take stocks — which, according to the International Energy Agency and every other independent organisation that follows the oil market, will take at least a year (probably more) to run down. If the Opec production cut were considered in isolation, this surplus might be expected to fall. But there is a surge of production coming in the next 12 months from new fields in countries outside Opec, such as Brazil, Canada and Kazakhstan. It is perfectly possible that total global production — from Opec and non-Opec states combined — will be higher next year than in 2016.

第二,考虑一下库存,根据国际能源署(International Energy Agency)以及其他所有追踪石油市场的独立组织的数据,全球石油库存需要至少一年(可能更长时间)才能降下来。如果只考虑欧佩克减产的话,过剩库存也许会下降。但未来12个月,欧佩克以外国家新油田的产量将出现飙升,例如巴西、加拿大和哈萨克斯坦。因此明年全球石油总产量(欧佩克成员国以及非欧佩克国家的总和)很有可能会高于2016年。


Third, consider the US shale business, which has every incentive to use the price rises to maintain and increase production. Contrary to the prophets of doom, the industry has been remarkably resilient in the past two years. There has been no collapse. Costs have been cut radically. Some companies have shut down production but they will use every opportunity to bring it back on.



And the advances made in technology and productivity will spread across the world, further increasing output.



Finally, there is the view from Riyadh. The strategy of swamping the market with extra supplies to squeeze out production from competitors and to maintain Saudi Arabia’s share of the world market has failed.



What next? For all these reasons, the current deal is inadequate and will fail. The cuts will not be implemented when they are supposed to come into effect in January. Too many of the promises, especially from the non-Opec states, are too vague and the incentive to cheat is too high. Opec has no enforcement mechanism against those who break the agreement. The price will fall back, perhaps quite quickly.



Then the real choice comes for Khalid al-Falih, the new Saudi oil minister, who is much more realistic than his predecessors. To lift prices to anything close to $70 a barrel, Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia alone, will have to cut production dramatically — by another 1m to 1.5m b/d, and to hold it down at that level for a year or more.

到那时,沙特新任石油部长哈立德•法立赫(Khalid al-Falih)将面临真正的选择,他比前任们都务实得多。要让油价升至接近每桶70美元的水平,沙特——单单沙特自己——就必须大幅减产,将日产量再削减100万桶,达到150万桶,并维持在这个水平一年以上。广州石油翻译公司。


Cartels need a swing producer that has the capacity to vary production to the degree necessary to control the market and which can absorb the pain of such a move. That is what they would have done in the past, but it may now be impossible, economically and politically. Saudi Arabia cannot sustain such a sacrifice, particularly given its weak security situation and its failure to diversify its economy. If that is true, the $50 price we have today is a ceiling. Opec as a cartel is over and everyone will have to get used to the new reality.

卡特尔组织需要一个机动的生产者(swing producer),它要有能力以控制市场所需的力度对产量进行调节,并且能够承受这样做所带来的痛苦。放在过去它们就这样做了,但现在从经济、政治角度来看或许做不到这一点了。沙特无法承受这种牺牲,尤其是在该国安全形势薄弱以及未能实现经济多样性的情况下。若果真如此,当前的每桶50美元价格就是油价能够达到的最高水平了。欧佩克作为一个卡特尔组织的时代结束了,所有人必须适应这个新的现实。


The writer is visiting professor and chair of the Kings Policy Institute, London

本文作者是伦敦国王学院(Kings College London)国王政策研究所(King's Policy Institute)访问教授、所长