The newly-reconfigured 13-member Opec welcomed Indonesia back into the fold with a 30,000 b/d production rise in January. True to form Saudi Arabia’s production surged by 60,000 b/d as it sent out a clear message to regional rival Iran, which freed itself from nuclear-sanctions on 16 January.

Saudi Arabia is far and away the largest producer in Opec, with its January production of 10.24mn b/d more than twice that of second place Iraq’s 4.3mn b/d (see p9). Any move by Opec countries to reduce production to make way for Iran’s return to global markets must therefore start there. (CONTINUED - 1014 WORDS)