Oil and Saudi ArabiaÆs balancing act

The Land of the Two Holy Mosques treads carefully in order to find an oil price equilibrium that suits its best interests.

The US energy department estimates that 13 members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Opec could earn a record $1 trillion this year in net oil revenues, a leap of 48.4% from last yearÆs $674 billion. Saudi Arabia, owner of a fifth of all known reserves and supplier of an eighth of the worldÆs oil, will account for more than a third of that amount.

In inflation-adjusted terms, the price of crude has surpassed its previous peak in...

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