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Saudis Won't Shed Any Tears Over Doha

Saudi Arabia's policy-makers will no doubt be relieved as the much-hyped OPEC/non-OPEC output freeze unravels. The last thing the kingdom wanted was the oil price rising to a level that allows high-cost projects to move forward.

The meeting in Doha to formalize the freeze ended in failure with Saudi Arabia refusing to agree unless other nations, particularly Iran, joined from the beginning. Iran, the one country with the determination and ability to boost output this year, wasn't even at the gathering.

Iran and its neighbor Iraq have together added more than 1 million barrels a day to their crude oil exports in the first two weeks of April, compared with their March average. For Iraq, much of that comes from restoring disrupted Kurdish exports, but for Iran it's part of an ongoing drive to restore output to its claimed pre-sanctions level of 4 million barrels a day.

These increases offered Saudi Arabia the perfect excuse to refuse to freeze its own output. The Kingdom's spokesmen, whether...


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