"Crude oil is comfortable between $40 and $52 per barrel, but that range would be extraordinarily uncomfortable should there be any hint of U.S. recession," said Tom Kloza, head of global energy research at the Oil Price Information Service. "The lows are likely in October, when global refinery maintenance peaks. The highs may occur at year's end, but only if we have some early winter in the northern hemisphere."
There was a real split on the question of market rebalancing, with the 52 percent who see a slower-than-expected rebalancing of supply and demand. But another 22 percent the rebalancing is proceeding as expected, while 26 percent said supply continues to be greater than demand.
"Inventory is the key variable to watch in terms of the actual supply/demand balance. U.S. inventory is the most accurate and most available and will continue to be a significant influencer of prices in the absence of OPEC noise/action. Inventories are tightening," according to Dan Pickering, co-president of Tudor Pickering.
There has been market talk that OPEC could come up with a rough accord in Algeria this week and then hold an emergency meeting to cement a deal. But 61 percent said they do not expect to see an emergency meeting from the cartel this fall, while 26 percent said they did. Another 13 percent said they were uncertain.
There were 23 oil analysts, traders and experts who took the survey last week.
Slightly more than half — 52 percent — expect U.S. oil production to remain flat in the next six months, while 22 percent said it could rise significantly and another 22 percent see it increasing slowly.
Crude prices are expected to be influenced mostly by demand trends (39 percent), then global overproduction (22 percent). Just 13 percent said OPEC would be the most important factor influencing crude. Another 9 percent pointed to dollar fluctuations, and 9 percent cited geopolitical events. Eight percent specifically pointed to U.S. production.
Three quarters of the participants said the U.S. election is not likely to influence the price of oil. But when specifically asked about each candidate, 74 percent said Democrat Hillary Clinton would not impact prices, while 48 percent said Donald Trump would have no effect. However, 35 percent said prices would move higher with a Trump presidency and 17 percent said they would move lower.