Key Gulf countries have become ‘hooked’ on bumper oil and gas revenues. They risk acute and painful withdrawal symptoms should oil prices turn south, a recent study by ratings agency S&P shows.

Three straight years of $100/B-plus oil prices have provided an almost unprecedented revenue boom to the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), all hydrocarbons exporters. All have rapidly expanded spending in line with increased revenue, so the oil prices they require to achieve fiscal breakeven have also risen sharply. Of course raising spending, of which wages is often the key element, is easier than making cuts. (CONTINUED - 1005 WORDS)