The price of a barrel of oil is likely to remain below $60 (£41) for the next decade, according to the boss of one of the world's largest independent oil trading firms.
Ian Taylor, chief executive of Vitol Group, said oil prices would stay low for as many as 10 years in the face of slowing Chinese economic growth and the influence of the US shale industry.
He told the Bloomberg news agency: “It's hard to see a dramatic price increase. We imagine a [price] band of between $40 (£28) and $60 (£41) a barrel for the next decade.”
Taylor was unsure if prices had bottomed out, what with supplies continuing to outpace demand, the return of Iran to the world's markets, and the global economy was more efficient in consuming crude oil.
The Vitol boss said there could be an agreement between Opec and non-Opec countries, such as Russia, to cut production, although it was like to be “60/40 against”, he told the agency.
Bloomberg said Vitol traded in excess of five million barrels of crude and refined products a day, sufficient for the needs of France, Germany and Spain combined, and its views on the market were closely monitored.
Meanwhile an industry consultancy has said up to 150 North Sea oil platforms could be scrapped in the next 10 years.
Douglas-Westwood said the fall in the price of oil had made many wells uneconomic.