When Saudi Arabia took the gamble in late 2014 to abandon its role as OPEC’s swing producer, it had the shale industry in the United States squarely in its sights.
Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s veteran oil minister at the time, was of course too diplomatic to put it that bluntly. He said it was not rational for "less competitive" supply volumes to rise while cheaper supply sources were shut in to support prices. But the message was the same: Saudi Arabia would no longer allow the US to ride pillion on OPEC’s production restraint. If necessary, Saudi Arabia was prepared to flood the market and see who was left standing when the waters subsided.
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