While there is a long list of potential factors that could surprise the market in 2019, OPEC+ supply curbs create a tightening baseline that should lead to higher oil prices as the year wears on.
Despite a range of uncertainties looming over the oil market this year, there is a growing sense that OPEC+ might be able to succeed in balancing the market after all.
After oil's steep fall in the final weeks of 2018, a diverse array of factors means the rollercoaster is likely to continue in 2019 with forecasting prices proving to be equally hazardous.
There may come a day when the U.S. is able to claim that OPEC is finally broken, but that day has yet to arrive.
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Tehran has limited options to dodge sanctions, most of which are a redux of its 2012 strategy.
Compensating for supply shortfalls from Venezuela, Libya, and Iran may prove a challenging task for OPEC in the months to come.
Iran and Russia's scaled-down agreement faces long odds, but isn't dead yet.
The oil market could be sorely tested in the second half of the year and into 2019, unless demand slows, OPEC outages are less than expected, or non-OPEC producers such as the United States, Canada, and Brazil produce higher than forecast.
OPEC fudges the details. Oil prices rose on Friday in reaction to OPEC's decision to increase output during the second half of the year. Analysts argue that the cartel's actions will not be sufficient to meet the markets' needs.