The slide in the price of crude oil is unmitigated disaster for most oil producers and cause for joy for oil-importing countries. But there are dramatic layers and layers beneath this rather simplistic observation. Why is OPEC so sanguine in the teeth of what seems a price catastrophe? Who else, apart from oil importers, stands to benefit from lower prices? What are the global political and power ramifications? How are African countries, especially oil producers, dealing with this situation? What are the implications for the new oil nations? Neil Ford analyses a complex conundrum.