North Sea Brent, the international benchmark grade for crude oil, has dropped below $30 per barrel. This is the lowest Brent has fallen to since 2004, and it has led to a fresh round of predictions that prices could drop as low as $10/bbl – the nadir reached during previous collapses in 1998 and 1986. It also tees up the prospect of a price rebound later in the year as political tensions appear once again on the oil market’s radar.
Oil prices have dropped by 74% from their mid-2014 high of more than $110/bbl, and they have halved over the past six months. The price collapse followed Saudi Arabia’s decision to abandon its traditional role as OPEC’s ‘swing producer’, effectively leading to a production free-for-all among the organisation’s members.
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