The oil price has slumped by some 50 percent since 2014. This has bad repercussions for states that are highly dependent on revenue from oil exports, of which most are members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Nigeria, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia are most dependent on oil revenue. As our chart shows, the current price (even though it has recovered somewhat lately) is still far too low for most OPEC members to balance their budgets. Only Iran and Kuwait are in the clear – if the price stayed stable, which is highly unlikely.
A concoction of sinking oil prices and higher costs for production combined with more state expenditures has undermined OPEC countries' ability to siphon off enough revenue from oil exports. The organization's market might has also been undermined by proliferation of alternative production methods, such as the exploitation of shale oil in the United States. This means OPEC's traditionally high ability to steer prices has dwindled.