Saudis rope in Venezuela to check US shale threat

Riyadh's strategy may be to cut oil prices to US and dampen investor interest in drilling for shale

New York

THE Saudi oil minister's visit to Venezuela this week is also a trip through time. Flash back to December 1998 when Saudi Arabia looked to its fellow Opec member for help in lifting oil prices from about US$10 a barrel.

Back then, the Saudis were defending their dominance in the global oil market from new suppliers in Latin America. Now the desert kingdom is cutting prices to the US to contend with upstart shale producers. To win the showdown, the Saudis are trying to bring Opec's weaker members...

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