Opec is facing up to a volatile start to 2020 as No.2 producer Iraq risks being buffeted by the fallout from the US assassination of Iran’s Qassem Soleimani (MEES, 10 January and MEES, 3 January). When the producer grouping meets with its allies in March to discuss extending cuts, any spectre of sizeable outages would be an unwelcome complicating factor.

As it stands, the situation remains stable with no actors standing to benefit from any outages. UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei on 8 January predicted that in the (unlikely) event that the Strait of Hormuz was closed, oil prices would shoot up above $100/B, something that “the world economy cannot sustain.” (CONTINUED - 758 WORDS)