The price fluctuations of the United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, and the United States Brent Oil Fund (NYSEArca: BNO), which tracks Brent crude oil futures, and other oil exchange traded products are often tied to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
However, some oil market observers believe OPEC’s influence is waning. While OPEC is cutting back to alleviate price pressures, U.S. fracking companies could jump to capitalize on the windfall as crude oil prices jump back above $50 per barrel – according to some estimates, shale oil producers can get by with oil at just over $50 per barrel due to advancements in technology and drilling techniques that have helped cut down costs.
In a reversal of previous sentiments, Saudi Arabia accepted Iran’s higher output target as a special case. Previous OPEC talks broke down after Iran, which suffered from curtailed exports under strict global sanctions, argued for increasing its output to pre-sanction levels. However, there are some potential problem children within the cartel that could undermine the output reduction effort
Saudi Arabia is eyeing oil at $60 barrel this year, a comfortable price for many OPEC members, but probably not high enough to encourage U.S. shale producers to significantly increase their rig counts. Saudi Arabia is OPEC’s largest producer.