US-based energy consultants ESAI said oil prices will rise following OPEC’s decision to keep production unchanged for three months.

“Even as Russian oil exports rise, economic recovery slows, and oil inventories remain ample, the decision of OPEC to keep official production under wraps for another three months can only mean higher crude oil prices,” it said in a recent client memo.

ESAI’s managing director Sarah Emerson said: “Since the mid-90s, and the industry’s adoption of just in time inventory management, crude inventories, and by extension prices, became a function of OPEC’s production decisions.

“OPEC’s lower production since late 2001 has set the stage for yet another crude oil inventory liquidation.”

She said that it is only now, six months after a reduction in output began, that there will start to be a significant reduction in global crude inventories and a concurring rise in prices.