Oil prices have staged a modest recovery this quarter as supply/demand dynamics have finally begun to look more favourable.
While OPEC members have been busy reining in supply, there´s also been increased demand from China for oil bulls to cheer.
Still, the $56 per barrel that Brent crude is currently trading at is a far cry from the $100 per barrel levels seen around three years ago.
Oil prices now stand about where they were at the beginning of 2017, having dipped below the $50 per barrel mark on various occasions during the first half of the year.
High US output and scepticism over OPEC production cuts weighed on the market for much of 2017.
There´s also been long-term worries hanging over the market, such as the rapid rise of electric cars and the general dash towards greener technology.
However, the recent improvement in prices comes as OPEC and Russia claim to have made solid progress in reducing the global supply glut that has plagued the market.
August proved to be a decisive month, as Russia managed to significantly exceed targets to cut production.
It meant that after falling short in June and July, OPEC and its allies also beat their collective target over the month.
The grouping has previously pledged to cut output by more than 1.8 million barrels per day (BPD).
The tightening on the supply side comes just as China has begun to ramp up oil imports.
Chinese oil demand rose by 690,000 BPD in July, a 6% year-on-year increase, according to OPEC.
On a year-to-date basis, China´s demand has grown by 550,000 BPD, putting the nation on course to eclipse the US in 2017 as the world´s biggest importer of oil.
Year-to-date Chinese demand is running at around double the level of 2016.
So, where´s all this additional Chinese demand coming from?
For one, the Chinese economy has surprised on the upside this year, growing 6.9% in the second quarter.
While this was just slightly ahead of forecasts for the quarter, the rate is significantly higher than the nation´s official 6.5% growth target for 2017.
Stronger economic growth has seen Chinese demand for LPG, fuel oil, jet/kerosene and gasoline rise by around 20%, 16%, 13% and 4% respectively.
At the same time, given its dependence on oil imports, China is also reported to have been recently adding to its strategic reserves.
Overall, the short-term outlook for oil is looking much more positive than it was just a few months ago.
It´s difficult to find anyone who believes oil will be heading back to the heady heights of $100 per barrel, though $70 per barrel no longer seems so unattainable.
In its latest report, OPEC revised up its estimate for global oil demand in 2017 by 50,000 BPD, to 1.42 million BPD.
For 2018, it has upped its global demand estimate by 70,000 BPD, identifying stronger growth from both China and Europe as important factors.
One of the problem´s for OPEC though is what happens to production that is firmly outside its control should oil prices climb to say $65-70 per barrel.
A resurgence in North American drilling activity has been a major factor weighing on the market this year.
Advances in technology mean US oil producers are now able to breakeven at lower crude prices than ever before – below $40 per barrel.
At the same time, any big leg-up in oil prices is bound to see some additional output come on stream as explorers ramp up drilling.
Most investors appear to be pessimistic about the longer-term future for oil prices.
Rapid growth in the adoption of electric cars, with the increasing viability of green technology and strong support at the government level, has depressed the long-term outlook for oil.
European countries such as the UK and France have pledged to implement outright bans on diesel and petrol cars by 2040.
Such moves look likely to spread with strong support for greener technology such as electric cars already beginning to shape the agenda in countries like China and India.
While oil consumption in China is currently on an upward trend, that could all change over the coming decades.
China is the biggest market for electric cars in the world and the local authorities have already begun considering proposals that would see it set out a timeline for implementing its own diesel and petrol ban.