Won’t get fooled again?

It’s not even been four years.

In April 2013, then Saudi oil minister Ali Naimi said there was nothing to fear from shale oil production in the US. A few days later, Naimi adviser Ibrahim al-Muhanna told Gulf Co-operation Council oil ministers that any concerns they had that shale oil would lead to a huge increase in supply and a collapse in prices were “misplaced”.

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Credit check

The oil market has been fixated on Opec of late, with newly-loquacious oil ministers’ every utterance pored over.

But the exporter body isn’t the only organisation with a key role to play in balancing the market. The People’s Bank of China is Opec’s mirror on the demand side, and the producer countries will be hoping it is up to the task.

BP, in its Energy Outlook published this week, said that all of the demand growth for oil in next 20 years comes from emerging markets, with China accounting for half.

The Middle Kingdom is already a black hole for crude, with storage being built and filled while global prices are low. Aggregate crude imports, apparent demand and refinery runs all hit record levels in December.

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