Saudi Arabia considers disbanding OPEC

Saudi Arabia considers disbanding oil production cartel OPEC amid growing pressure following Trump criticisms and Jamal Khashoggi murder

  • Saudi Arabia commissions study into dissolving oil production cartel OPEC
  • OPEC coordinates oil prices among producers and maintains the supply globally
  • Saudi now researching effects of disbanding group amid surmounting pressure
  • Kingdom faces scrutiny following US president’s criticism and Khashoggi affair

Saudi Arabia’s leading government-financed think tank is looking into the possible effects on oil markets of a breakup of OPEC. 

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, founded in 1960, coordinates petroleum prices among producers and maintains a regular supply to consumer nations.

However, in a remarkable move for a country which has dominated oil exportation for 60 years, a study into the cartel’s dissolution has been demanded by top Saudi officials who see it as a high priority economic-policy.  

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, founded in 1960, coordinates petroleum prices among producers and maintains a regular supply to consumer nations

The move comes amid growing pressure on the Saudi government, including from the US President Trump, who has accused the cartel of hiking up oil prices.

While investors have temporarily distanced themselves after US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered by regime henchmen.  


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Despite this, the think tank’s president, Adam Sieminski, said the study hadn’t been triggered by Trump’s forceful statements or the increased global scrutiny.

‘The kingdom knows demand for oil won’t last forever…so you need to think past OPEC,’ one senior adviser said. 

The move comes amid growing pressure on the Saudi government, including from the US President Trump, who has accused the cartel of hiking up oil prices. While investors have temporarily distanced themselves after US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered by regime henchmen (Trump with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman)

The study is part of a broader discussion among Saudi officials about the future of OPEC, the WSJ reports, with leading figures in the kingdom anticipating increased demand as supply dwindles in the coming decades.

It comes as the cartel faced increasingly irate calls from Trump over the alleged manipulation of oil prices at the expense of large oil-consuming countries – such as the US.  

Legislation in the US, dubbed NOPEC, has also been discussed which would curtail OPEC’s influence and effectively label them an illegal cartel.  

Although it has been suggested Saudi is intent on disbanding OPEC soon, some have questioned the long-term rationale for the move given the kingdom’s dominance within the group.

Meanwhile, internal feuding among founder members, namely Iran and Saudi have caused more turbulence, with Tehran accusing officials in Riyadh of acting on America’s behalf, particularly following US sanctions on Iranian oil exports

Saudi, along with Russia, exerts the most influence among the collective, and the pair joined forces in 2016 to rein in oil production as supply threatened to outstrip demand which had created super low prices.  

The coordination among the two has upset some OPEC members, who have complained they are being sidelined by decision makers in Riyadh and Moscow. 

Meanwhile, internal feuding among founder members, namely Iran and Saudi have caused more turbulence, with Tehran accusing officials in Riyadh of acting on America’s behalf, particularly following US sanctions on Iranian oil exports.  

Nonetheless, Saudi remains the biggest exporter among the cartel, accounting for roughly a third of the group’s collective 33 million barrels per day output. While its minister has long been considered the group’s de facto principle. 

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