Oil and gas execs flag Opec policy as biggest risk to the industry

Jessica Morris
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Opec policy can rile global oil markets (Source: Getty)

The majority of senior oil and gas executives have singled out Opec policy as the biggest risk currently facing the struggling industry.

Around 74 per cent of senior international oil and gas execs think Opec policy is the most significant geopolitical concern for the industry, according to research by global law firm Clyde & Co.

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"Opec policy has a clear and direct impact on the oil price, so it's easy to see why this is a major concern for the industry," Richard Devine, Corporate Partner at Clyde & Co, said.

Opec shocked markets in November when it decided not to cut production, sending oil prices to a four-year low. More recently, Saudi Arabia's u-turn to say it will only freeze if Iran joins caused prices to fall to $40.

The slowing Chinese economy was the next most significant geopolitical concern, with 50 per cent of respondents choosing this.

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"It is somewhat surprising that Opec policy outstripped the next most pressing concern – the slowing of the Chinese economy – by such a wide margin," Devine added.

"Decisions relating to supply are only part of the story. Chinese demand is still likely to play a crucial role in the recovery in oil prices, especially given its potential for future global oil consumption."

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