Crude oil futures fell for a seventh straight session on Monday, their longest losing streak since mid-2014, on growing fears that the global oil glut would worsen in the months to come in pricing wars between key producers.
Brent crude fell below $38 a barrel for the first time since December 2008 on Friday and US crude, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), sank to about $35 for the first time since February 2009.
Front month WTI was down 26c at $35.36 a barrel by 10.47am GMT, while Brent was down 46c to $37.47 a barrel.
Both benchmarks have fallen every day since the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) on December 4 abandoned its output ceiling. In the past six sessions, they have shed more than 13% each.
Opec has been pumping near record levels since last year in an attempt to drive higher-cost producers such as US shale firms out of the market.
New supply is likely to hit the market early next year as Opec member Iran ramps up production once sanctions are lifted as expected following the July agreement on its disputed nuclear programme.
“All new production will be earmarked for exports,” BMI Research said in a note. “In addition to volumes released from storage, Iran will be able to increase crude oil and condensates exports by a maximum of 700,000 barrels a day by end-2016,” it said.
Iran’s crude oil exports are set to hit a six-month high in December as buyers ramp up purchases in expectation that sanctions against the country will be lifted early next year.
Tehran is on track to ship 1.26-million barrels a day of crude this month, according to an industry source with knowledge of tanker loading schedules.
Iranian news agency Shana quoted on Monday MD of Iran’s Central Oil Fields Company, Salbali Karimi, as saying Iran’s cost of production stood at $1-$1.5 a barrel, in a clear indication its output would remain competitive under any price scenario.
Gulf producers and Russia have previously said they would not cut output even if prices fell to $20 a barrel.
On Friday, the International Energy Agency said that the global supply glut was likely to deepen next year and put more pressure on prices. But it said it didn’t believe the world would run out of storage capacity.
Opec supply is likely to increase by 1-million barrels a day next year, Morgan Stanley analysts said in a research note on Monday.
“Almost the entirety of added supplies in 2016 will come from Iran, Iraq and Saudi,” it said