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Opec must decide between market share and oil price

The legacy of Opec’s high oil-price strategy is now plain: rising supply and weakening demand growth. The group must decide whether to rescue its market share or the oil price

Some time on 27 November, probably in the late afternoon, Abdalla El-Badri will sit down behind a microphone in a windowless basement room in Vienna and tell the world how Opec plans to deal with an oil price that, by Petroleum Economist’s press time, had lost a quarter of its value since early June. If the downward trend lasts, the group’s basket of crude could be trading well beneath $80 a barrel by the time the secretary general speaks. Will his words matter? Opec claims to hold 81% of the world’s conventional crude-oil reserves and produces a third of its oil. So there are good reasons why journalists gather twice a year in the Austrian capital to stalk oil ministers from the cartel’s 12

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