Oil prices to hover around $50 this year, touch $60 by 2017, say energy analysts

Deloitte has updated its oil price forecast and is now predicting prices will stay at $50, or just over, for the rest of the year, possibly touching $60 at some point in 2017.

Latest forecast from Deloitte sees growth, but says it will be a rocky 2016

Deloitte expects oil prices to hover around $50 a barrel in 2016 and reach up to the $60 range the following year. (Matthew Brown/Associated Press)

Deloitte has updated its oil price forecast and is now predicting prices will stay at $50, or just over, for the rest of the year, possibly touching $60 at some point in 2017.

But Andrew Botterill, a partner with the consultancy firm's resource and advisory group, said it won't be a steady climb.

"I totally expect that we're going to have volatility in the next three months, even into the next year or so," he said.  "I think we will touch high points, but I also think there are some downward pressures that we could see."

Botterrill added that if production comes back on stream in Fort McMurray, it could provide some of that downward pressure on oil prices.

Earlier this year, Deloitte was predicting oil to hover around $44 a barrel, but flattening crude production and an ease in oversupply has changed its forecast.

Botterill said the industry is now at a point where it's almost in balance.

"Now that we're close to that, I think what we're going to see is companies slowly start to extend themselves, maybe start drilling a little bit more," he said.

"But I do think producers are going to be a little bit cautious in that because, ultimately, there was a lot of damage done to balance sheets for companies and a lot of debt that's out there."

Deloitte is projecting oil prices will touch the $60 mark sometime in 2017.