Leaving the Oil Spigot Open

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On April 17, the thirteen members of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and five other major producers met in Doha to negotiate a long-awaited production freeze agreement. After five hours of fierce debate, the delegates walked home empty-handed, puncturing hopes that the global price cartel might finally take steps to arrest an almost two-year long slide in global oil prices.

To most, the failure in Doha was hardly a surprise. Saudi insistence on Iranian cooperation with a production freeze does not fit well with Tehran’s plans to regain the market share it lost after Western sanctions targeted its oil exports. Tehran’s refusal to even send a representative to the meeting did not bode well for success.

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