Oil wars: Shifting balance of power?

Global oil policies are becoming ever more complex as suppliers balance their needs, priorities and self-interests.

A period of low prices is redefining the geopolitical landscape, and bringing international relations into sharp focus.

The price of crude oil has tumbled since June, down by almost 50 percent from $115 a barrel to a little below $60 a barrel.

Lower energy costs are being driven by weakening demand, a reluctance by OPEC to cut production, and the rise of the US as the world’s largest oil producer.

The emerging price wars are set against a backdrop of multiple conflicts and crises in oil producing nations.

So how will these changing dynamics affect the way states deal with each other?

Does OPEC still have the upper hand? And how is surging production in the US playing into a potentially volatile mix?