OPEC’s dilemma

The shale gas and oil industry will have huge repercussions on world oil consumption. As a result, this will force OPEC (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) to lower prices. At the last OPEC meeting in Vienna on May 31, members discussed the problem of shale oil and the required steps to reduce its impact on OPEC exports. Two main positions emerged form the debate: one fostered by poorer OPEC countries (the African exporters: Nigeria, Algeria and Angola) aimed at reducing production from 30 million barrels per day to a lower threshold in order to achieve an increase in oil prices; the other position was supported by Saudi Arabia and its allies, who want to maintain the status quo with the barrel at an average of $100. In the middle there is Venezuela. The position of the Latin American state was in favor of maintaining the minimum price, fixed at the current average: $100 per barrel. It doesn’t matter if this result could be achieved by reducing or increasing oil production: for Caracas the key point is the minimum price.
The clash during the meeting was quite heated. African members strongly opposed the Saudi Arabian view, even if it eventually passed as the official OPEC line. This is to say that the organization decided not to lower the daily production below the threshold of 30 million barrels per day. But the point was missed: what will be the impact of shale oil? OPEC was unable to give an answer to this question, wasting time by debating over what the ideal price should be.