Oil prices could jump 17% by summer as crude has now bottomed out, top shale CEO says

  • Oil prices could hit $90 by summer, Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources said. 
  • The end of the releases from the US strategic reserve and China’s reopening suggest prices have bottomed, Sheffield said.  
  • “So inflation is up, all prices are down, so people just don’t have the capital to continue to grow.”

Oil prices have bottomed out and could surge 17% by the summer time, according to Scott Sheffield, the chief executive officer of Pioneer Natural Resources. 

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices have fluctuated around $73-$80 a barrel for several months, and the question now is what will cause them to break out, Sheffield said in an interview this week with CNBC

US production has added only about half of what was expected over the last year up to December, he explained, and the industry has been facing dwindling refining capacity and inventories.  

“Our estimate for free cash flow was $8 billion last year, the number we printed it’s going to be $4 billion at $80 for 2023,” he said. “So inflation is up, all prices are down, so people just don’t have the capital to continue to grow.”

On Thursday, WTI crude hovered around $77 a barrel, while Brent crude, the international benchmark, traded at about $83 a barrel.

Sheffield anticipates that production growth will dramatically slow, and said the US could return to output of about 13 million barrels a day in two to three years. 

That level is the record high average reached in November 2019, data from the Energy Information Administration shows.

“I see us at a bottom, we’ve had everything thrown at us, we had the SPR, million barrels a day thrown at us, we’ve had a recession, we had Chinese lockdown, and we’ve been bouncing around between $73 and $80 WTI,” Sheffield maintained. “So we’re definitely at a bottom, and the question is when do we break out? I predict sometime this summer we’ll break past $80 WTI on the way to $90 a barrel.”