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US shale is needed as oil prices climb, says IEA chief

Read Time: 2 mins

Oil in New York climbed to a new 10-month high last month as the dollar declined, increasing the appeal of commodities priced in the currency.

Futures rose 1.5 percent to above $53 a barrel, to the highest since February 2020. Prices have climbed in recent days after promises of unilateral output cuts from Saudi Arabia spurred a further rally.

Investors are also weighing the prospect of higher supply from North America. A “big chunk” of US shale is profitable at current oil prices, but drillers should be aware of crude’s declining share in the future global energy mix, International Energy Agency (IEA) executive director Fatih Birol said in a Bloomberg television interview.

Many shale producers will be able to increase production this year and in 2022, and in the short term “we will need shale oil from the United States to fill the gap” in the supply-demand oil balance, Birol said. However, shale companies “shouldn’t underestimate” the electrification of the transportation sector, he added.

Oil has surged more than 45 percent since the end of October, boosted by COVID-19 vaccine breakthroughs and commitments from OPEC and its allies to curb oil output.

“Oil prices are rising again after a brief timeout,” said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank AG. “On the demand side, hopes of economic recovery and the massive fiscal stimuli being taken by governments are lending support.”

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