Tag: Abdalla El-Badri

David Blair

How much does Opec matter? This might appear a strange question to ask of the 12 countries who jointly possess about 80 per cent of the world’s known oil reserves, but the recent volatility of the oil market suggests the club may count for less than you might think.

Since the beginning of this month, oil prices have risen from about $83 per barrel to $89 before falling back down to $82. These swings had little to do with the availability of oil on the physical market and everything to do with speculative trading on the paper market, influenced by factors like the decline of the dollar and the Irish debt crisis. Opec has been little more than a bystander during this month’s rollercoaster ride.

Kiran Stacey

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:

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