How OPEC Lost Control of Oil

The cartel unleashed the power of the global market--and never recovered

The words in the headlines seemed vaguely familiar: OPEC meeting, oil output curtailed, prices rising. But if you are having haunting visions of long lines and $2.50-per-gal. gasoline, relax. When representatives of oil-producing countries meet in Vienna this week, they will try to avert the disaster that was arising because prices have been collapsing. Asia's stalled economies and a very warm winter have cut oil consumption way below what was projected for 1998. Result: a 50% plunge in oil prices from early 1997, to $13.31 per bbl. And with storage tanks brimming, the price looked poised to fall even further--to $10...

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