A fisherman pulls in his net as an oil tanker is seen at the port in the northwestern city of Duba in Saudi Arabia.
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For most of the Age of Oil, groups of producers have tried to control its price.The plunge in the price of crude since the summer of 2014 has made it clear that the market has escaped anyone's ability to control it.A combination of technological progress, in the shape of the spectacular success of US shale oil production over the past five years, worries about the slowdown in China and other emerging economies, and a shift in strategy by Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, has caused a global glut of oil that sent prices tumbling by more than 50 per cent.Crude plunged in 1986 and the world entered a period of low prices that stretched into the 2000s.The development of those areas, which were relatively high-cost compared to oilfields in the Middle East, was made possible by Opec moves that forced up the price of oil in the 1970s, just as shale was made viable by the high prices of the first half of the 2010s.
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