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Groundhog Day for OPEC+


OPEC+ is once again grappling with familiar challenges: some of its members are eager to increase crude oil production after a prolonged period of restraint. Historically, OPEC has maintained that its primary mission is to balance global supply and demand, not to directly influence prices. However, the rise of U.S. shale oil a few years ago forced OPEC to seek additional support to fulfill this—or any other—primary mission, leading to the formation of OPEC+. With Saudi Arabia and Russia at the forefront, OPEC+ was able to maintain significant control over the world’s oil markets. But this collaboration underscored a concerning reality: OPEC alone could no longer exert the necessary influence over the oil market.

Even OPEC+’s ability to control the markets was called into question—and not by the UAE, but by Russia, who didn’t want to deepen oil production cuts further at the start of the Covid pandemic. While Saudi Arabia pushed for deeper cuts, Russia refused, with the market seeing firsthand what it looks like when OPEC+ members aren’t on the same page. Both nations threatened to flood the market with oil, leading to more oversupply and a catastrophic price drop.

It was the first crack, but it wouldn’t be the last.

Not all OPEC members were content with their assigned quotas. These quotas are determined by various factors, including the production capacity of individual members, reviewed by OPEC+ and secondary sources. The UAE, in particular, has historically…

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