Oil prices won’t rise much further over the next year and a half as demand growth slows and refiners comfortably meet gasoline consumption, according to the world’s largest independent oil-trading house.

“I cannot see the market really roaring ahead,” Vitol Group Chief Executive Officer Ian Taylor told Bloomberg Television in an interview. “We have a lot of oil in the system and it will take us considerable time to work that off.”

Since rallying from a 12-year low of $27.10 a barrel in January, Brent crude has been hovering around $50 a barrel for the last month. The international benchmark will probably end the year “not too far away from where we are today” and rise to about $60 by the end of 2017, Taylor said.

The forecast, which coincides with a similar view from Goldman Sachs, would mean oil-rich countries and the energy industry face a prolonged period of low prices, more akin to the 1986 to 1999 downturn than the swift recovery after the 2008 financial crisis. Vitol trades more than 6 million barrels a day of crude and refined products – enough to cover the needs of Germany, France, Italy and Spain together – and its views are closely followed in the energy market.

Brent crude fell to $47.97 a barrel in London at 4:43 p.m. local time, down $2.13. In New York, West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, fell 4.5 percent to $46.77 a barrel.

U.S. wholesale gasoline futures for delivery in August – the peak of the driving season – traded at $1.44 a gallon in New York at 4:48 p.m. Tuesday, below the price for futures for delivery in September, suggesting supplies are plentiful.


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