OPEC’s decision yesterday not to boost oil production, despite prices hovering around $90 a barrel, underscores a new reality, the New York Times observes: the oil producers aim to keep prices nearly that high—say around $80 a barrel—a target unthinkable a few years ago. In the US, it means $3 a gallon at the gas pump isn’t going away any time soon.
The OPEC strategy is to find a price point that will pump as many petrodollars into members' coffers as possible, without sending the global economy into a recession. “OPEC’s floor price keeps rising,” said one economist. “You have to assume that’s a strategy.” Saudi Arabia had pushed for an increase of 500,000 barrels a day, but acceded to resistance from Venezuela, Iran, Qatar, and other members. The 13 members meet again in February.