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Economic Viewpoint

The OPEC Crisis: Is History Repeating Itself?

January 22, 2024
Marc-Antoine Dumont
Senior Economist

The growing disagreement among OPEC+ members about whether oil production levels should be maintained, reduced or increased has rekindled fears of another crisis within the organization. With Angola’s recent departure from the group and the introduction of a laxer production agreement, OPEC+ seems to be headed down the same path that led to the crises of 1985, 2008, 2015 and 2020. This note explores what would happen if a dispute triggered a sharp drop in oil prices. If this were to happen, all producers would be affected, but Canada and the United States would probably fare better than other countries thanks to short-cycle production, better resilience and the replenishment of the US’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. A dispute within OPEC+ would therefore pit the group’s members against each other rather than against the US, as was the case during the 2014–2015 crisis.

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