The oil price decline of 2014 upended the geopolitical chessboard. Worth watching in 2015 will be who can recover and dominate play — OPEC, Vladimir Putin or U.S. shale drillers.
Oil’s international benchmark price dropped as much as 49 percent in 2014. Those looking for a quick rebound may be disappointed, as world consumption growth slowed to the least since 2009, U.S. companies pumped more than they have since the 1980s and a price war broke out among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
“It’s a turning point in the way people perceive OPEC, that this so-called cartel is not really driving prices,” said Jeff Colgan, a professor at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies who researches the geopolitics of energy. “The real story is going to be about the fracking industry. How much pain can North American producers take?”