Oil Exporters on a Slippery Slope

Bargain-basement rivals push OPEC toward another price cut

The markdown mania took off as suddenly as a price war on computers or toasters. But the merchandise that went on sale was crude oil. Early last week Norway's state oil company triggered a chain reaction among petroleum exporters by offering its $30-per-bbl. North Sea crude for $28.50. Two days later Britain, a much larger producer, followed suit with a $1.35 cut on its Brent crude, to $28.65. For oil exporters the events were ominously familiar. When Norway and Britain officially discounted their oil in February 1983, the move forced the Organization of Petroleum...

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