The OPEC Sandbox


Oil sinks.
Much noise about cuts is made, in the hopes no cut will be necessary. Oil sinks anyway. Fear begins to show as everyone nervously looks at Saudi Arabia ($49/barrel fiscal break-even), wondering if it will agree to cuts. (Saud is the kid who has the rugby ball in his locker. If he turns up sick at attendance in the morning, there won't be any pick-up game at recess). There is a long enough pause where Saudi Arabia ignores the glances, then the whispering begins and everyone starts to look at Iran ($90/barrel fiscal break-even). Iran is trying to act very tough and assured, but the act is wearing thin and everyone knows someone stole Iran's lunch money last week.
Things are starting to get pretty testy. The whispering is getting louder. Then, Saudi Arabia makes some noises that could be interpreted as agreeing to cuts. Desperate to believe it, confirmation bias takes hold of the members, and everyone acts as if cuts are fait acompli for a while. Saudi throws some sand in Iran's eyes just for kicks. Iran looks really pissed, but chokes down any protest and slinks off. Oman ($77), Bahrain ($75) and Algeria ($50) look very relieved, and even start to socialize a bit (amongst themselves. No one really likes them much anyhow). Iraq ($111) is hiding near the lunchroom and the school safety officer looms over him anyhow so he is highly unlikely to get to play with anyone.
Time passes. It occurs to everyone that Saudi Arabia hasn't done anything about that whole "cutting" thing. Now that the other kids think about it, Saudi didn't technically say it would make any cuts at all. Panic sets in. Lots of "emergency" huddle circles are proposed, but no one actually wants to set a time for one for fear Saudi Arabia won't join the huddle at all and super panic will set in. There is some sideline effort to involve Kazakhstan ($59) and Azerbaijan ($40), but they don't speak very much, have strange accents and smell funny. The effort is weak, at best, and its failure surprises no one. Libya ($47) is brown-nosing the school safety officer, who is too busy with Iraq to pay any attention. The other kids just glare at Libya.
Kuwait ($33), Qatar ($24) and UAE ($23) ignore everyone else and spend most of the time joking amongst themselves. The school safety officer smiles at them politely. They have the best grades in the class.
A sudden silence comes over the playground (like an old E. F. Hutton commercial). Saudi Arabia says, "there will be cuts!" which prompts tremendous celebration and joy, even Kuwait can be seen bouncing a toe to the cheesy music now playing from soemone's iPod. While everyone is enjoying themselves, Saud smiles quietly, sneaks off and then cheats anyhow when no one is looking.