Oil and Gas

US shale and OPEC oil: Game of chicken?

Geopolitical risk premium gone from oil: Pro
Geopolitical risk premium gone from oil: Pro

The political rhetoric surrounding the recent drop in oil prices shows no signs of slowing, with Venezuela said that oil producing countries could soon meet to discuss the tumbling commodity.

In a televised address late Monday, Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro said that a gathering of both Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) countries and non-OPEC countries was being planned, according to the Associated Press.

The discussions would be in the lead-up to a crucial OPEC meeting which is taking place in Vienna on November 27, and although Maduro was slim on details, he said he was confident that fellow OPEC nations would join together to help prices recover.

It comes as Venezuela Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez is currently on a tour of oil-producing nations including Russia and the Gulf States.

New chapter

Global oil prices have plunged since peaking in June. From around $115 a barrel, Brent crude has lost around a third of its price and was trading near four-year lows on Tuesday at $79. Weak demand, a strong dollar and booming U.S. oil production are the three main reasons behind the fall, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), which warned of a "new chapter" for oil markets, which could even affect the social stability of some countries.

Read MoreCracks widen at OPEC as oil prices tumble

This shift was further underlined on Tuesday, when Reuters reported that Iraq was looking to base its 2015 budget on an oil price of $80 per barrel.

The OPEC nations - which include the main swing producer, Saudi Arabia - are seen as key to the market, as they could agree to cut production and provide a floor for the price. However, political ramblings and a lack of formal production quotas have led many analysts to say that OPEC is unlikely to announce new policy at the end of the month.

"(The fall in price) is not helping any of the members of the cartel right now," Abhishek Deshpande, oil and gas analyst at French investment bank Natixis, told CNBC on Tuesday, but added that any sort of agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC nations could be a lame duck.

Getty Images

He added that a previous agreement between the two sides had been limited in scope, with only Norway curbing oil production - and it wouldn't be any different this time around. A price of $50 a barrel for Brent crude couldn't be ruled out if next week's meeting disappointed the markets, Deshpande said.

'Game of chicken'

BNP Paribas oil analysts, led by Harry Tchilinguirian, agreed that prices were more likely to move lower than higher after next week's meeting, and warned of serious volatility, with the U.S. market closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Andre Loes, chief Latin America economist at HSBC, was also relatively pessimistic, telling CNBC on Tuesday that he expected only a slight increase in the price over the next few months.

One possible consequence of a lower oil price is a fall in U.S. shale oil production. Earlier this month, the IEA said falling prices could cut investment in U.S. shale oil by 10 percent next year, slowing growth in a sector that has turned America into a major global producer.

Read MoreBrent slips to $79 as Japan enters recession

But Tchilinguirian highlighted that some analysts believed the OPEC nations would let the oil price decline further to "crowd out" the U.S., as shale production costs are higher than traditional oil production.

"This assumes OPEC has forfeited its role and has lost control of the price," he said in a research note on Monday. "We stand on the other side of the argument, namely that to try to crowd out U.S. oil supply in 2015 is futile as lower price levels would be required for a prolonged period of time."

How Latin America will be affected by oil price
How Latin America will be affected by oil price

As a result, the cost would be too great for the cartel, he said, adding that Saudi Arabia – one of OPEC's most flexible oil producer – was playing a "game of chicken", to incentivize collective action between the nations.

Iran nuclear deal

Iran could throw yet more uncertainty into the mix this week, with negotiations on its nuclear program meaning that economic sanctions from the U.S. could be eased – paving the way for even more oil production from the Middle East.

Read MoreSaudi minister: It's all a 'misunderstanding,' no 'price war' talk

Analysts at Citi investment bank said that a production cut from OPEC was marginally more likely than a nuclear deal for Iran, but added that they were not expecting either to happen in the next two weeks.

"How credible the market finds any announcement of a cut remains to be seen," the analysts, led by Seth Kleinman, said in a note late Monday. "The length of time that has passed since (the) last big cut during the (global financial crisis) is but one measure of how little the group has had to do in recent years and how out of practice the negotiators are."