Turmoil perpetuates OPEC charade

Source:Reuters Published: 2013-9-8 22:43:01

Turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa has been awful for the people of the region. The same cannot be said for Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the oil cartel. The long list of crises - violence in Iraq, fear of sectarian spillover from the Syrian conflict, oil worker strikes in Libya and sanctions against Iran - has conspired to keep crude prices high.

The oil world is changing, and the cartel is losing out. OPEC's latest Monthly Oil Market Report projects an increase in global demand in 2014 of more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) to 90.75 million bpd, but the supply needed from OPEC is expected to fall by more than 260,000 bpd to 29.65 million bpd.

For the leaders of Saudi Arabia and other unaffected OPEC members, the string of crises is a great worry. The risk is that trouble could spill into their borders. But these leaders must be acutely aware that right now a quiet life in the Middle East could further diminish the importance of OPEC, bring and much lower oil prices for the world.

The author is Una Galani, a Reuters columnist.

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