How the biggest oil cartel lost its power

OPEC used to have an iron grip on the world's trade, but now it is facing stiff competition that could see oil prices stay low for some time.

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With oil prices on the slide, members of the once-dominant Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decided last week not to attempt to rally them by cutting production, leaving the Brent crude price hovering at about $US70 per barrel.

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