Another factor in the fall was the surprise statement from Riyadh that it would soon release details of a mammoth increase in its proven reserves of crude oil. The addition of 2 million barrels a day of additional crude from OPEC producers also helped ease prices.

‘Past experience has taught us that very low prices and very high prices are not sustainable. Price volatility is not conducive to either stability or predictability. Only speculators benefit from oil price volatility,’ Saudi Arabian Petroleum & Mineral Resources Minister Ali Naimi said in late September. ‘A factor clouding the oil market future is government intervention via regulations.’