End of losing streak?
Still, Brent crude prices have rebounded almost 16 percent this month. Analysts say signs of recovery in global demand for oil, helped by the recent slide in prices, help explain the end to the losing streak.
"We've seen the bottom of the current cycle and prices should go higher through the year and in the short term," said Neil Beveridge, a senior oil analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, in Hong Kong.
"We still have an excess of oil supply but that will slow during the year. Also we're starting to see the green shoots of recovery, with stronger demand in China," he said, adding Brent crude should end the year at over $70 a barrel.
Implied oil demand in China is set to grow 3 percent this year, the country's leading energy group China National Petroleum Corp was reported by Reuters as saying on Friday. This is above a forecast of 2.5 percent from the International Energy Agency.
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"It is true that global demand for oil has seen signs of life and outperformed what most economic models would suggest, but a large part of that strength is linked to the very low prices in January," said Richard Mallinson, geopolitical analyst at Energy Analyst in London.
"The risk is that some of the strength will fade if prices recover. I think we will have a better year for demand growth than last year, but it's not yet looking like the kind of robust underlying demand growth that could drive a sustainable rise in prices," he said.
In short, Mallinson said, a risk of further sharp falls remained and that Brent crude could re-visit the $40 range.
While the fall in oil prices has helped boost to global growth, the energy sector has been hit hard with company values slashed and billions of dollars' worth of exploration projects put at risk.
"What we've seen in 2015 is that the oil price is persistently low so we expect earnings in oil and gas to come down. And this will mean we will cut back on some of the investments in oil and gas," Kurt Bock, CEO of German chemicals firm BASF, told CNBC.
BASF generates about 38 percent of its cash flow from its oil and gas division.
"We see oil prices fluctuating between $60 and $70 for Brent in 2015. Beyond that, it has to go up if you want to drill for new exploration," Bock said.
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