Since June 2014, oil prices peaked at USD111 per barrel and started an abrupt decline to levels never seen for more than a decade. Presently oil prices have remained low within a very volatile market. An oversupplied market and Saudi Arabia strategy to maintain and even increase its oil production in order to maintain its market share have caused fractures within OPEC. Many attempts have been done in order to find a consensus within the cartel and others non-OPEC producers but none have ended in an agreement. With OPECs Doha Meeting of 18 April failure still fresh, producers are not giving up and are still seeking ways to stabilize the market.
The difficulties encountered by OPEC members are not new but with Saudi Arabia dictating almost unilaterally, the cartels policy makes experts think that the members interaction have changed and the influence of OPEC has been diminished breaking with a dynamic that have worked for decades.
This assignment aims to test the knowledge acquired by the students during the course of the module and their critical thinking on a practical and topical subject. The chosen topic (oil prices collapse) is very rich and current and as a developing issue students have a wide margin to demonstrate and give their own opinion on this matter.
The evaluation criteria will be based on the currency of the research, the clarity in explaining complex issues and the different angles used in order to reach a conclusion.
You should not simply repeat facts without further discussion and analysis. What is required, and will form the basis of assessment and marking, is your own reasoned analysis and conclusions, based on the facts and supported by carefully selected and correctly referenced sources and evidence.
You are required to research into the origin, factors and impact of the oil price collapse and provide an analysis of OPECs real influence in stabilising the market.
The research must be focused on the motivations of key members of OPEC and their underlying objectives. You must also give an informed opinion on the reasons why and how OPECs dynamics have changed and the likelihood that this situation remains a fundamental change for the organisation and the market in general.
LEARNING OUTCOMES TO BE EXAMINED
Demonstrate how the changing international markets for oil and gas influence the size and structure of supplying industries
Illustrate how national and international demand changes influence long term investment policies in these industries.
STUDENT must be able to show ~ shows ability to evaluate methodologies critically and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses is able to deal with a range of complex issues both systematically and creatively, making excellent judgements in the absence of complete data.