It wasn’t that long ago that oil-producing countries were riding high. In 2014, with prices topping out at $115 per barrel, producers the world over had money to save, money to spend, and money to reinvest in what seemed to be an increasingly lucrative industry. Black gold, it seemed, brought their budgets into the black. But circumstances changed, and a year later oil prices fell dramatically, stabilizing a few months thereafter but dropping again, bottoming out at about $26 in January 2016.
If this sounds familiar, it should. Only a few years earlier, in July 2008, at the tail end of the boom that preceded the financial crisis, oil prices peaked at about $140 per barrel. By year’s end, oil would cost just $33 per barrel.
There’s an important distinction between the two downturns. In 2008, prices plunged because of a decrease in demand, and in 2014, they fell because of a surge in production. But if the causes were different, the outcomes were the same: Oil-producing coun