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Adapt and survive

The top five oil producers among OPEC have adapted to lower long-term oil prices. Along with reaching an agreement to cut production in November, they have also managed to lower their economic break-even prices through cost cutting and budgetary moves.

The gap between the average breakevens of the five producers and brent crude reached a $33 deficit in 2014 and now sits near $5, according to the International Monetary Fund's 2017 report. Kuwait and Iraq have managed to turn the deficit into a surplus in 2017, while Saudi Arabia is still running about $23 below its break-even price. The impact of oil's downturn has led the kingdom to get more serious about plans to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

Iraq and Iran cut their break-even prices the most coming off peak prices, seeing reductions of 53% and 48%, respectively. Kuwait was able to maintain its budget closest to Brent prices over the period, running a deficit in only 2011.