Fifty years after its creation, Opec’s carefully-worded announcements are now pored over like statements from the Kremlin at the height of the Soviet era. Nuanced phrasing and tone are studied for a sense of what member countries might do in terms of production.
So when Abdalla El-Badri, the secretary general said today, “Prices are moving $70-$80 a barrel. [This] is comfortable at this time,” the world took notice.
And among certain circles, it is not just opacity that makes Opec like the Kremlin, it is the menace it holds too. Here’s an excerpt from Foreign Policy magazine, for example, in an article entitled How to Ruin Opec’s 50th Birthday:
China’s aggressive efforts to secure natural resources around the world have sometimes made it an opponent of other importing nations, most recently South Korea. But a shared hunger for commodities can bring countries closer to together too.
Take Tuesday’s deal between Mitsui, one of Japan’s biggest trading houses, and Shenhua, the Chinese state-owned energy and mining company. The two groups agreed to work together to develop coal deposits in Mongolia, and perhaps in other countries in the future.Most of the coal is likely to be sold to Chinese power plants, but some will also find its way to Japan, according to Mitsui. The Japanese group will take a share of the profits regardless, making its investment a partial bet on further growth in Chinese demand.
Elsewhere this Tuesday:
- What will come first, peak resources or peak humans?
- We don’t have the resources to meet unnecessary population growth
- Where is oil production stagnating or declining?
- Be sceptical about natural gas warnings