Analysts had been projecting a relatively calm 2020 for energy markets: stable supply from the US shale revolution; OPEC reactively adjusting output to keep the bottom falling out from global prices; and stable if muted global demand. Then the assassination of Qassem Soleimani happened, which served to underscore the geopolitical risks that still loom large over energy markets. After all, it ties into the very same regional rivalry that managed to knock off some 6 million bpd of Saudi output a few short months ago.

Here are some of the major trends that will shape energy markets in the year ahead:


US Shale Output

After posting years of steep increases since 2017, US shale output is expected to level off in 2020 amid capital expenditure cuts and flagging investment. Predictions range from a 900,000 bpd increase to as low as 100,000 bpd.

2019 saw US output briefly pass the 13 million bpd mark.