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All else equal, a unilateral Saudi cut would work for them because they would make more money selling 7.5 million barrels a day at $55 than 9 million barrels at $40. “It would be a net gain, with less work,” says Ed Hirs, who teaches energy economics at the University of Houston. “But it would be a windfall for Iran and others who couldn’t resist soaking up the Saudi market share.”

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