Beirut (AsiaNews) – The price of a barrel of oil continues its free fall on Asian markets today to levels not seen for years.
Nevertheless, OPEC (the organization of oil-exporting nations, led by Saudi Arabia) refuses to reduce its production.
Indeed, yesterday it announced that in November it increased the production of 230,100 barrels per day, to 31.7 million, the highest level in the last three and a half years, much higher than the set ceiling of 30 million.
The price per barrel is now below 40 dollars. In the US oil for January fell to $ 36.54; Brent 39.48. These are the lowest prices since the height of the economic crisis in 2009.
In the past, if the price of oil fell, the OPEC would balance this out by reducing production. Many analysts are trying to understand the new strategy. Some believe that keeping the price of oil down is aimed at hitting two competing producers, Russia and Iran, who are also political opponents of the Saudi expansion in the Middle East.
Others argue that OPEC instead wants to target the United States, which has become almost self-sufficient in oil production, due to the extraction of oil shale. This product, however, has high costs and can become uneconomic if the oil price remains below $ 50.
Instead there are those who point out that Europe and America have reduced their consumption of oil.
Thus, OPEC is forced to compete with other manufacturers in the Asian market and low prices are necessary to maintain and expand its market share.
For the moment, the prices so low they are seriously troubling Nigeria, Venezuela, Algeria, Brazil, Russia and Iran. But many wonder what will happen to Saudi Arabia, with which this policy is losing $ 100 billion a year in revenue and risking social tensions. In fact it is estimated that if this trend continues, the global oil industry will have to eliminate at least 250 thousand jobs.