The Telegraph reports: Oil is arguably Saudi Arabia’s best weapon against both Russia and Iran. Although the kingdom’s finances are under severe strain from the collapse in export revenues it can still fall back on its $655bn (£423bn) of foreign assets while Russia and Iran will feel the impact of another year of weak oil prices more acutely.
After a year of carnage in the oil industry, it is now clear that it will take more time for Al-Naimi’s strategy of allowing weaker prices to do the job of totally shutting down higher cost producers.
A 60pc slump in oil prices since last November has caused havoc but the main target of Opec ‘s campaign, shale oil in the US, has so far proved to be remarkably resilient.
Hardest hit have been the high cost producers in areas such as the North Sea where prices below $50 per barrel have placed the entire offshore industry at risk.
Energy consultant Wood Mackenzie now fears that 140 fields in the waters off north-east Scotland, where oil has been pumped since the 1970s, could be closed down over the next five years if oil prices remain so low. [Continue reading…]