After Saudi Arabia's sudden insistence that Iran be part of a meeting in Doha last weekend to discuss an oil production freeze, global market analysts are scratching their heads over what the oil-rich kingdom's next move could be.
Oil analysts and market watchers have noted with interest this week that Saudi Arabia's policy when it becomes to oil has become a lot less predictable than it seemed in late 2014. Back then, the de-facto leader of oil-producing cartel OPEC refused to cut production in order to retain market share in the face of rival producers, notably in the U.S.
Eighteen months later and its strategy has appeared to pay off, with data showing that shale oil producers are closing down rigs every week and oil output is dropping. Although its own strategy has damaged the government revenues of all 13 countries within the OPEC family, which tends to rely on oil exports for the majority of its wealth, it has enabled the so-called cartel to retain its market share of just under 40 percent.