The oil price is a good example of micro-economics. It works like this..........generally, countries that produce oil have little else to export, so oil is very important for them as a foreign currency earner as their currencies are mainly worth de nada even as toilet paper.
With the dollars that they get for their oil they invest in office blocks, malls etc. which are there to provide dollar income so that they can use it to support their countries. With hindsight one could surmise that these were not terribly good investment vehicles
They need to keep the price of oil high so that they can get a good return on their investment. It costs eye-watering amounts to run a rig or explore for the oil.
They also need eye-watering amounts of currency to support their states.
They like to let it be known that oil is a dwindling reserve so this keeps the price at a reasonable (aka 'highly profitable') level.
They made the mistake of letting the bottom feeders on the stock markets play with the price of oil, making huge gambles so that it shot up which was good for the OPEC crew.....
but bad for businesses who take most of the oil production. Petrol is a by product and does not contribute much to their profits, so if the motorist does not buy petrol because of the price it is no great shakes.
In a recession, oil usage drops dramatically, so they now have huuuuuge reserves of oil which they cannot shift and is very expensive to hold in reservoirs.
Their investments are not looking very good especially as OPEC countries tend to rely on weekly currency shifts (some, like Saudi are almost daily)to feed their countries. They might own huge amounts of property and land but this is worthless unless you can profit from it or flog it quickly. Both these scenarios are grim in teh recession.
So OPEC are in between the Devil with all his impish servants and a very deep blue sea. If they raise the price in a recession they will sell naff all but if they do not raise the price their income is greatly eroded.
Using oil as a gambling commodity was never a particulary smart move in the long run especailly when the equity amoebas got their slimly teeth into it.