OPEC reference basket - oil price 2016-2040

In 2040, the nominal price of the OPEC reference basket oil is expected to reach 155 U.S. dollars. The nominal price is an unadjusted number, without taking elements such as inflation, seasonality, loan fees, interest compounding into account.

Prices rising and recovering

The “real price” (in 2015 U.S. dollars) of oils in the OPEC reference basket is projected to more than double from 2016 to 2040. While the average annual OPEC crude oil price was at the lowest point in over a decade in 2016 and had room to recover, real 2015 prices are not expected to reach the high levels of the early 2010s over the next twenty years.

Turbulence in the 2010s

As oil prices fluctuated heavily during the 2008 financial crisis, the United States sought to decrease reliance on imports from OPEC countries and invested in domestic oil production to keep up with high demand at lower cost. The subsequent development of hydraulic fracturing enabled extraction of shale oil in the United States and brought a surge in production, causing a global oversupply by 2014, known as the 2010s oil glut.

Projected OPEC reference basket oil price in 2016 and 2040

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Release date

November 2016



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

The annual price recovery from 2017 to 2021 is assumed to increase in increments of five U.S. dollars per barrel.

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