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Saudis 1, Everyone Else 0

Tuesday, 11 Sep 2007 | 2:23 PM ET

So there we have it. A long, drawn out battle has been won once again by the globe’s mightiest oil producer: Saudi Arabia.

A meeting of key OPEC ministers that dragged on more than two hours longer than scheduled concluded and the hawks have been seen off in style.

When I spoke to Iranians and Venezuelans this morning, these guys had been squaring up for a fight. A fight to keep production levels unchanged, which they ultimately failed to achieve.

Let’s face it, it was always an uneven contest. Saudi Arabia, backed by the rest of the Gulf states, had firepower, had allies and more importantly had more oil to put into the market. The hawks, on the other hand, were struggling -- truth be told -- to even produce their current quotas.

Perhaps more important for Saudi Arabia than winning this battle has been the message that OPEC has sent to the rest of the world. A message that despite the huge differences of opinion, the cartel has at the eleventh hour presented a unified front and has not crumbled under the weight of argument. That is clearly the case, but my, you should have seen the look of thunder on the face of one or two vanquished ministers.