OPEC has been on auto-pilot for the last year. Anyone who had any spare oil, put it on the market, Asian consumers would soak it up. Prices firmed nicely above $100/b, more than enough to keep petro-states in the black. If anything, OPEC’s problem was finding sufficient oil to cover supply side gaps within the cartel from Iranian sanctions, not to mention supply side slippages across a string of non-OPEC states from ‘Syria to Sudan’. The long term cartel king, Saudi Arabia stepped into the breach, consistently pumping above 9.5mb/d since June 2011 – the longest sustained period of such production levels for 11 years. It pushed production well above 10mb/d into 2012, with OPEC output increasing from 30.8mb/d in January to 31.75mb/d in May. It was a close run thing, but prices never breached $130/b, a figure many analysts thought would bring the entire house of global economic cards caving in. Crisis averted.