The 21st century’s second decade brought the worst disruption in global oil market history. Freezing of the economies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the winter of 2020 drastically restricted global oil demand. Crude prices collapsed. OPEC, Russia and the United States responded with record production cuts and the closest cooperation among oil producers to prop up prices the industry had ever seen.
Price volatility has been an inherent feature of the oil business since its early days and is expected to continue. In 2023, prices at the pump returned to the longer pre-crisis trend, but GIS experts warn of two factors. On the one hand, investment in future production is low, as the oil business receives discouraging signals from governments. On the other hand, with anemic economic growth in the West and China, OPEC may not be able to sustain prices at the current level for long.