The first OPEC ministerial meeting of 2014 was expected to be a humdrum affair. A rollover of the 30mn b/d group ceiling had been flagged several weeks earlier by Saudi Arabia’s Ali Naimi – minister of the producer club’s most powerful member.

The Saudi minister had declared himself satisfied with current market fundamentals and prices, which set the stage for the predictable outcome of this week’s 165th OPEC conference. So relaxed was Mr Naimi that he only turned up to the 11 June conference at OPEC headquarters in a sweltering Vienna just one hour before the gathering, taking a break from a hiking vacation in the Alps to join fellow ministers for what was one of the shortest ministerial conferences in OPEC’s history. (CONTINUED - 1320 WORDS)