The Battle for Oil. OPEC Strikes Back

The Battle for Oil. OPEC Strikes Back

2023-09-21 • Updated

The past several weeks have been a real triumph for the bulls in the oil market. The Brent spot price grew by 8.5% during the last month.

The energy market is currently becoming especially important for both blocs of countries. BRICS+ countries represent the Eastern bloc, while the Western bloc is G7 countries. A severe confrontation over price continues. The oil market is the key to the future global geopolitical and economic configuration.

Prerequisites for a price war in the oil market

According to money supply ratios, 80% of all money entering the American system occurred between 2020 and 2023. All available channels were used to pump in liquidity: QE, Helicopter Money, and low rates. The situation in G7 countries was more or less controlled in 2021, with an inflation level of 5%. By February 2022 (the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict), the CPI in the States reached 7.5%. The Fed-targeted Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) approached 6%. However, by the time of the price shock in the oil market, the Fed had still not begun the cycle of monetary policy tightening, leaving the real rate in a deeply negative zone.

The oil market’s price shock, provoked by the conflict in Ukraine, required the Fed to make tough decisions. Firstly, the FOMC began to raise the rate quite aggressively - the increase step at each meeting was at least 50 bp. Secondly, in April 2022, the Fed balance sheet began to decline (QT) for the first time in quite a long time.

However, this was not enough. Since full control over inflation was possible only if oil prices were controlled.

G7 countries win the first round

The first thing the United States did after the start of the conflict in Ukraine was to cut Russia from the European energy market. Although this was done to the detriment of the national interests of the allies, the United States became the largest beneficiary of the process. The American energy sector made a significant breakthrough. By October 2022, the S&P Energy sector had almost reached its 2014 historical highs, testing 724.74 points.

To solve this problem, the United States significantly increased oil production (up to 12.8 million barrels per day) and continued to sell oil from its strategic reserves. Strategic oil reserves in the United States over the past two years (i.e., since the COVID crisis) have decreased from 635 million to 350 million barrels. This means that by releasing liquidity into the markets, the States simultaneously began active actions in the energy market, preventing price growth. Thus, monetary control in 2020–2022 gradually passed into energy control. By the way, strategic reserves are strategic because they serve to solve longer-term US goals. Commercial reserves are for short-term tactical use.

In 2023, this US control of the energy market was strengthened by the inclusion of WTI Midland in the Brent DTD, thus gradually squeezing out the British grade of oil from key grades in the derivatives market.

The United States expected another energy shock to occur but did not think this shock would be so strong. Otherwise, the FOMC would likely have begun a tightening cycle before the Russian-Ukrainian conflict started.

Then, the United States tried to increase oil production by reaching agreements with the largest oil producers, Iran (9th in the world) and Venezuela (20th). From January to July 2023, oil production in Iran increased from 2.5 million barrels per day to 2.8 million barrels (an increase of 12%) in Venezuela from 732 thousand barrels to 810 thousand barrels.

As a result, oil prices dropped below $80 per barrel in the second half of 2022 and the first half of 2023. The correction in the energy market with the simultaneous monetary policy tightening decreased consumer inflation by 500 bp – 8.2% to 3.2%.

The opening of China that never took place this year was a gift for oil-consuming countries. The Chinese economy reached a plateau and did not generate additional impetus for growth in oil prices.

OPEC+ Response

The countries of the Eastern bloc responded by reducing oil production. Saudi Arabia reduced production to 9 million barrels per day (in 2022, the country produced about 11 million), and Russia reduced production not so significantly - to 10 million barrels (production in July 2022 was 10.3 million). According to OPEC's latest report, the cartel's members cut production by 836 thousand barrels from June to July this year – to 27.3 million per day.

Their actions pushed the price up from $74 to $93 per barrel. This will later lead to higher inflation in the consumer countries and start a new cycle of inflationary pressure. Geopolitical tensions are likely to rise.

Technical Analysis

The price broke several resistance levels.

At first, it broke $87.75 and moved to $91. The bears gave up this level, too. The nearest resistance level is at $97.50.

According to the Elliott wave theory, the movement up may be a third impulse wave. It means that after the correction, the asset may overcome $97.50 and move directly to $100.


Let’s sum up:

  1. The price of oil and control over it has always been the main goal in the confrontation between countries on the world stage. This goal is becoming even more important, given the almost complete exhaustion of resources to control inflation (rates in developed countries have been kept at a high level for quite a long time; SPR in the United States has decreased significantly).
  2. Oil prices will most likely continue to rise. Consequently, it becomes impossible for the developed economies to switch to monetary easing fast – rates will remain high for a long time.
  3. Geopolitical risks are on the rise, so safe-haven allocations should increase.
  4. Market volatility will increase, and speculative strategies may be more attractive in the medium term than the classic “buy and hold” approach.

Try to Trade


OPEC Boosts The Oil Market
OPEC Boosts The Oil Market

Brent crude futures is maintaining stability this Friday, with traders awaiting an OPEC+ meeting that might lead to further supply cuts. Brent crude was down 8 cents at $81.34 a barrel, following a 0.7% drop in the previous session.

How Will China’s Regulation Affect Oil?
How Will China’s Regulation Affect Oil?

China has issued new oil product export quotas to allow oil companies to send surplus barrels overseas, particularly Sinopec, which has the highest volume among quota holders. While the exact quota volume remains undisclosed, oil companies are forecasted to export approximately 3.5 million metric tons of clean oil products in September, a 10% increase from August.

The Oil Market in the Month of June
The Oil Market in the Month of June

Thanks to the incredible advancements in horizontal drilling and fracking technology, the United States has experienced a mind-blowing shale revolution. They've become the heavyweight champion of crude oil production, leaving Saudi Arabia and Russia in the dust. They even turned the tables and became net exporters of refined petroleum products in 2011.

Latest news

Is Bitcoin Set to Drop?
Is Bitcoin Set to Drop?

Bitcoin's price remains stagnant despite the Fed's slightly less hawkish tone. In contrast, Bitcoin has outperformed other assets, doubling in price from $16K to nearly $38K this year. Improved fundamentals, including the resolution of Binance concerns...

Top Three Trade Ideas for December 2023
Top Three Trade Ideas for December 2023

Hey folks, it’s a wrap to yet another month in the 2023 calendar, and I’m guessing you know what that means - time for another episode in the “What To Trade” series. For December, I will be mapping out trade more cautiously as the market volatility often drops

Gold Breaks To New Highs. What Is Expected In December?
Gold Breaks To New Highs. What Is Expected In December?

Gold prices, reaching the highest since May 5, are consolidating as traders await the US PCE Price Index, a key inflation indicator. The upcoming data could impact the Fed's policy, influencing the demand for the US Dollar and providing direction for gold. The Greenback sees some repositioning, recovering modestly ahead of the data risk.

Deposit with your local payment systems

Data collection notice

FBS maintains a record of your data to run this website. By pressing the “Accept” button, you agree to our Privacy policy.


A manager will call you shortly.

Change number

Your request is accepted.

A manager will call you shortly.

Next callback request for this phone number
will be available in

If you have an urgent issue please contact us via
Live chat

Internal error. Please try again later

Don’t waste your time – keep track of how NFP affects the US dollar and profit!

You are using an older version of your browser.

Update it to the latest version or try another one for a safer, more comfortable and productive trading experience.

Safari Chrome Firefox Opera