The range of views illustrates deep uncertainty among top industry players over the outlook, given the reimposition of US sanctions on Iran and forecasts of slowing global economies and energy demand in 2019, potentially leading to choppy trading, Reuters reported.
Jeremy Weir, the chief executive of Trafigura, said at the Oil and Money conference in London that he would not be surprised to see oil trade at more than $100 per barrel next year.
Among others with a relative view was Alex Beard, chief executive for oil and gas at Glencore, who forecast at the same event a mid-term oil price of $85-90.
"I think the sanctions will be very tough," Beard said. “I can't see anything that will affect oil prices dramatically to the downside."
A release of US strategic oil stocks to ease the loss of Iranian supplies looked remote and would have limited impact anyway, and a plan by European nations aimed at maintaining trade with Iran was unlikely to help, he added.
"The European payment mechanism doesn't shield you if you use the US financial system ... you can pay but don't expect to be on their Christmas card list," he said.
Beard added that US infrastructure limitations would limit US crude exports that could otherwise compensate and new refining capacity coming online in 2019 would add further tightness.
Some of the traders said, however, they expected some demand destruction in emerging economies to help cap prices.
In 2019, forecasters such as the International Energy Agency say emerging-market crises and trade disputes could dent global demand while rising production from outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries adds to supply.