From Marek Dabrowski at Bruegel:
……the depth of the oil-price shock looks comparable with that of the second half of 2008 and early 2009. However, while the 2008-2009 shock resulted from a temporary liquidity crisis caused by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the current shock seems to be underpinned by more fundamental demand- and supply-side factors.
On the demand side, there are the observed slowdowns of emerging-market economies, effects of energy-saving policies in developed and developing countries, and the gradual tightening of US monetary policy, which reduced the appetite for speculative purchases of oil and other commodities. In speaking about the demand side, we mean massive investment in new oil-production capacities, including shale oil, in the last two decades (Dale, 2015), the declining market power of the OPEC cartel and development of alternative energy sources.
Consequently, the lower level of oil prices could reflect a new market equilibrium and could last longer than the short-term price declines of 1998-1999 and 2008-2009. The current situation is more reminiscent of the dramatic oil price adjustment observed in the mid-1980s, after which low prices dominated for more than a decade. If this scenario is repeated now, all net oil exporters will face inevitable challenges of both macro- and microeconomic adjustment in the long term.
…..Overall, countries that conducted prudent macroeconomic policies and built-up large fiscal buffers in boom years (Gulf countries, Norway, Brunei Darussalam) have had more room to manoeuvre in choosing the right policy response to the price shock, compared to those that had smaller or no reserves. In particular, they could employ countercyclical fiscal policy to mitigate the effect of lower prices (see above).
I am sure most Australians can relate to this conclusion.