Veterans of 1980s oil glut say this price slump, too, will last

23 Feb 2016   Kuwait

When Sheikh Ali Khalifa al-Sabah of Kuwait thinks about today’s plunging oil prices, his mind drifts back to the mid-1980s, when he was forced to sell some of his country’s crude for as little as $5 a barrel. As Kuwait’s oil minister at the time, Sheikh Ali had to sell a cargo or two at that price just to keep up cash flow to a country that depended upon oil revenues. “It wasn’t because I wanted to; it was because it was the market price,” he recalls. “We really had no alternative.” For oil industry players active during the 1980s bust, the current drop in prices carries echoes of those desperate days. Interviews with some of those involved in that period reveal that while there is little consensus on how long prices will stay depressed, experience suggests […]

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