Opec (the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) may not survive to celebrate its 60th birthday later this year. Saudi Arabia's decision to abandon output restraint and flood the market with cheap crude signals the end for a group dubbed the world's most successful cartel.

In a selfish bit of showmanship, Saudi Arabia, by far the biggest producer in Opec, tore up an output agreement that had lasted since the start of 2017. It did so because Russia, the largest of Opec's external allies, wouldn't play ball and refused to make deeper production cuts to help prop up oil prices in the face of the economic devastation being wrought by Covid-19.

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