Often dismissed as having outlived its usefulness, OPEC proved naysayers wrong by delivering a well-orchestrated production cut that, on the surface, involved not only its members, but also non-OPEC producing countries. The move drove crude prices higher, providing relief for OPEC’s most struggling members, as well as offering a helping hand to short-cycle U.S. unconventional producers.

Of course, the economics of a production cut offered a compelling reason in terms of generating a disproportionate jump in revenue from a relatively small drop in output. And setting aside geopolitics, the objective was far from herculean. OPEC’s goal was to accelerate the drawdown of global crude inventories over an initial six-month period—a target viewed as attainable in quarters, not years.

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