Oil sank to a 12-year low of less than $28 a barrel in London on Monday as the removal of international sanctions over the weekend freed Iran to revive crude exports, threatening to swell a glut created by fellow OPEC members and U.S. shale drillers.
Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil exporter, signaled again on Sunday it won’t relent in its strategy to preserve market share even as prices crash. Global oil markets could “drown in oversupply,” sending prices even lower as demand growth slows and Iran revives exports with the end of sanctions, according to the International Energy Agency.
The IEA trimmed 2016 estimates for global oil demand as China’s economic expansion weakens and raised forecasts for supplies outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. While non-OPEC supply is set to drop 600,000 barrels a day in 2016, Iran’s comeback could fill that gap by the middle of the year. As a result, world markets may be left with a surplus of 1.5 million barrels a day in the first half.