A Structural Model of the World Oil Market: The Role of Investment Dynamics and Capacity Constraints in Explaining the Evolution of the Real Price of Oil

Using novel measures that decompose oil supply shocks into its exogenous supply (driven by exogenous geopolitical events in OPEC countries) and endogenous supply (driven by investment dynamics within the oil sector) components, this paper offers a fresh perspective on the role of supply, flow demand and speculative demand shocks in explaining the changes in the real price of oil over the last three decades. We show that while exogenous supply shocks are non-negligible, endogenous supply shocks have generated larger and more persistent price responses than previously thought. Earlier studies have consistently shown that positive shifts in the flow demand for oil were responsible for most of the oil price surge between 2002-2008. But this paper shows that endogenous production capacity constraints, which restricted the ability of producers to ramp up production to meet the unexpected increase in demand, added at least $50/barrel to the real price of oil during that period. More recently, endogenous oil supply shocks alone accounted roughly for twice as much as any other supply or demand shock in explaining the 2014 oil price collapse. Specifically, of the $64 per barrel cumulative decline in the real price of oil from June 2014 to January 2015, our model estimates that $29 have been due to endogenous oil supply shocks, $13 have been due to exogenous oil supply shocks, and $12 have been due to flow demand shocks. The paper concludes by demonstrating that forecasting models that are able to distinguish between exogenous and endogenous supply shocks generate more realistic out-of-sample estimates of the sequences of the structural shocks, thus resulting in higher real-time predictive accuracy than forecasting models that use a collective measure of a flow supply shock.

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By: Andreas Economou , Paolo Agnolucci , Bassam Fattouh , Vincenzo De Lipsis

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