The oil cartel is maintaining price discipline for now. But a concatenation of global circumstances could destroy its power to control the market

When the major oil-producing countries meet in a month’s time at a Vienna hotel, they are expected to extend the production cap that has pushed up the price of oil in recent months.

The agreement in December by Opec and Russia to curb production for the first half of 2017 has driven oil prices up near $55 a barrel, offering some respite for an industry hit by a slump in which prices fell as low as $27.

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