Goldman Sachs lowers oil price projections on potential shale surge

Deepwater drilling is back to challenge shale, says Wood Mackenzie.

Goldman Sachs has downgraded its estimations for oil prices for this year, citing a potential rise in shale gas production, new projects and OPEC restrictions.

The investment bank now points to an average of $55.39 per barrel for Brent from its previous estimate of $56.76 a barrel. It also lowered its expectations for WTI to $52.92 per barrel from $54.80.

"We believe we are in a lower for longer environment until there is greater evidence shale deliverability is surprising to the downside or OPEC runs out of spare capacity," a team of analysts at the bank said in a research note on Monday.

Oil prices moved slightly lower on Tuesday morning. Brent was trading at $51.78 a barrel and WTI was being sold at $49.50 a barrel.

Top energy projects in Europe

Meanwhile, analysts at the bank say that oil firms like Total, ENI, Galp, Lundin and Tullow should be considered "winners" in the current market due to them owing large ongoing projects.

"These companies hold a diversified portfolio of projects (at least two growth projects) that are above average on three key factors," a different teams of analysts said a research note last Friday.

The next catalyst to push oil prices above $50 could be Venezuela. Here's why
The next catalyst to push oil prices above $50 could be Venezuela. Here's why

These factors were materiality and profitability, cash flow uplift and production uplift.

"The 'winners' therefore own material new projects that represent a large component of their market value, are highly profitable and will materially lift their future cash flows and production in both the short and medium term on our estimates at a Brent oil price in the $ 50-60 (barrel a day) range," the note said.

Goldman warned, however, that the metrics used did not take into consideration the rest of these firms' business, only their portfolios.

In the Americas, Goldman Sachs suggested that EOG, Range Resources, Devon, Concho, Anadarko and Petrobras hold the best projects.

"The industry has shifted from long-cycle projects to short-cycle," the bank said. In 2010, short-cylce projects made up only 16 percent of its "Top Projects" analysis report, but they now account for 50 percent of the total.

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.