When Opec ministers left the secretariat in Vienna on 6 March many appeared visibly shocked by what had just transpired, struggling to assess the potential impact on their governments’ finances (MEES, 6 March). None could have foreseen the extent of the subsequent oil-market carnage.

Brent crude opened the year at $66/B. Even as ministers descended on Vienna in early March amid steeply rising concerns over coronavirus, Brent had opened the week at $51.90/B. It flirted with $25/B this week, before bouncing back to around $30/B. It seems unlikely that any decision made in Vienna would have averted a major sell-off given the unprecedented restrictions subsequently imposed in major economies. However, Riyadh’s decision to supply the market with 12.3mn b/d from 1 April (MEES, 20 March), has sent prices into meltdown. (CONTINUED - 1203 WORDS)