OPEC’s $900 Billion Mistake
By Euan MarnsPosted on Mon, 24 August 2015 19:59 | 9 With WTI falling below $40 and perhaps heading for $20, one needs to wonder ifOPEC’s strategy is working out as planned? Why are they following this course and what are their goals? The face value explanation, accepted by many, is that OPEC is protecting market share especially against rampant supply growth in the OECD, namely in the US LTO (light tight oil) patch. This post examines how OPEC’s market share has evolved with time and with past swings in the oil price.
This turned out to be more complex than expected. But scrutiny of the data shows that following each of the three oil shocks since 1965 (Figure 1) OPEC market share AND oil price fell (Figure 3). The most recent trend follows the 2008-2014 highs and I believe it is this observation that is driving current behaviour.
Had OPEC decided to sacrifice about 5% market share they could have maintained price above $100 per barrel for years to come in which time the US shale bonanza may have burned out. It seems that OPEC may have made a colossal error that threatens to de-stabilize their member countries.