The Cartel Is Losing Its Clout

OPEC's failure to agree on quotas could bring it down

The showdown at last week's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna was taut and grim. At one of the long rectangular tables sat Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the elegantly groomed Oil Minister of Saudi Arabia. At another, roughhewn and tieless, was Seyyed Mohammad Gharazi of Iran. The issue before them was the control of OPEC itself. The result: a draw that deepened the most severe crisis in OPEC'S 22-year history and raised doubts about whether the organization can ever...

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