Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Follow-up: Thursday's OPEC Meeting and the Price of Oil

Yesterday we linked to the Financial Times' story on the split between Saudi/the Gulf States vs. the Iran/Venezuela bloc: "Ahead of Tomorrow's OPEC Meeting: Doves Trying to Kill Hawks".
I was apparently suffering a brain spasm on the date, please forgive.

Today FT Alphaville does a deeper dive with a couple posts:
Why Saudi Arabia wants to bathe the world in affordable oil
Thursday’s Opec meeting is expected to be a cracker. Supply is relatively abundant right now, but Saudi Arabia wants the quota raised. Iran, Venezuela, and a bunch of other Opec members fearful for their export receipts definitely do not want that....

...But is there more to it than just jawboning? Oil watcher and economist Phil Verleger has some reasons why Saudi Arabia’s insistence on raising production quotas is a sincere bid to keep prices under control, and would willingly risk prices falling below its own “break even” price. He summarised his reasons this way:
The economy. Saudi Arabia recognizes that lower prices in 1999 were a great helping solving the Asian debt crisis.
Russia: The Saudis are very upset with the situation in Syria. Lower oil prices will convince Putin to cooperate.
Iran: Lower oil prices will increase pressure on Iran.
Canada and the US: Lower prices will slow development of shale oil and tar sands.
Conservation: lower price might just slow the move of the US to efficiency. (might)
G20: Saudi Arabia likes to be considered part of the club. Lower prices would help renew their membership.
These arguments, although somewhat speculative, do seem to check out....MUCH MORE
Brent is up a half-percent, WTI is down fractionally.
Also at Alphaville
While we wait for Opec