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Saudi Arabia gambles as Opec makes no cuts

The kingdom’s shift in strategy is as risky as it was abrupt

Youcef Yousfi, Algeria’s oil minister, was adamant when he spoke to Petroleum Economist on the morning of Opec’s 27 November meeting. His country would “of course” trim its own output as part of a wider group cut, he said. He dismissed rumours that the Gulf states had already agreed to hold output steady. Cuts were coming, he suggested, and they would restore prices to “where they were before”. Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela’s foreign minister and Opec representative, was also convinced. Before the meeting began, he told a huddle of journalists gathered around him that Opec should go deep, stripping the market of supply in the way it had done in Oran, Algeria, in 2008, when the group agreed to c

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