Hyper-priapic OPEC can’t get it down

A March 18 report on al-Jazeera noted a cruel irony to OPEC’s just-ended conference in Isfahan, where the oil ministers of the 11 member nations agreed to boost production in a bid to bring down global prices. No sooner did the conference close before prices surged to an all-time record high of $57 a barrel. And this despite the fact that OPEC is already at the collective 27.5 million barrels per day agreed upon at Isfahan, making the accord a mere formality. OPEC president and Kuwaiti Oil Minister Shaikh Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sabah said: "I think that now everybody is overproducing. Current prices make it lucrative for everybody to hike production without the need for a decision."

Other oil ministers agreed. "Member countries are already producing over their quotas," said the Algerian delegate Chakib Khalil.


"We are raising the ceiling of production because we are already producing that amount," said Libya’s OPEC representative and Energy Minister Fati Hamid bin Shatwan.

The al-Jazeera account did mention (albeit rather dismissively) the "peak oil" hypothesis as a factor driving the high prices. It failed to note the far more obvious reality of ongoing chaos in Iraq and war fears in Iran as fueling the spike.