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A year ago, the global oil industry was looking back on 12 months of crude price volatility that had culminated in a fairly steep fourth-quarter slide. This prompted the usual concerns about export earnings and macro-economic stability in the FSU for the year ahead.
This year the picture is much more bullish. Prices have been at fairly comfortable levels for most of the year. The region's oil producers do not appear unduly worded and, broadly speaking, national economies remain stable.
The immediate outlook for producers is good. In Vienna last week, Opec demonstrated its determination to support crude prices into the new year, with members agreeing to stick …