The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent, intergovernmental Organization, created at the Baghdad Conference on September 10–14, 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The five Founding Members were later joined by eight other Members: Qatar (1961); Indonesia (1962); Socialist Peoples Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (1962); United Arab Emirates (1967); Algeria (1969); Nigeria (1971); Ecuador (1973–1992) and Gabon (1975–1994). OPEC had its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in the first five years of its existence. This was moved to Vienna, Austria, on September 1, 1965.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' Members
|Algeria facts and figures||Indonesia facts and figures||Iran facts and figures||Iraq facts and figures||Kuwait facts and figures||Libya facts and figures||Nigeria facts and figures||Qatar facts and figures||Saudi Arabia facts and figures||United Arab Emirates facts and figures||Venezuela facts and figures|
|Population (1,000 inhabitants)||32,906||217,99||68,6||28,832||2,76||5,853||131,759||824||23,956||4,5||26,756|
|Land area (1,000 sq km)||2,382||1,904||1,648||438||18||1,76||924||11||2,15||84||916|
|Population density (inhabitants per sq km)||14||114||42||66||153||3||143||75||11||54||29|
|GDP per capita ($)||3,113||1,29||2,863||1,063||27,028||6,618||752||45,937||12,931||29,367||5,24|
|GDP at market prices (million $)||102,439||281,16||196,409||30,647||74,598||38,735||99,147||37,852||309,772||132,15||140,192|
|Value of exports (million $)||45,631||86,179||60,012||24,027||45,011||28,7||47,928||24,386||174,635||111,116||55,487|
|Value of petroleum exports (million $)||32,882||9,248||48,286||23,4||42,583||28,324||46,77||18,634||164,71||49,7||48,059|
|Current account balance (million $)||17,615||2,996||13,268||-6,505||32,627||10,726||25,573||7,063||87,132||18,54||25,359|
|Proven crude oil reserves (million barrels)||12,27||4,301||136,27||115||101,5||41,464||36,22||15,207||264,211||97,8||80,012|
|Proven natural gas reserves (billion cu m)||4,58||2,769||27,58||3,17||1,557||1,491||5,152||25,783||6,9||6,06||4,315|
|Crude oil production (1,000 b/d)||1,352||1,059||4,092||1,913||2,573||1,693||2,366||766||9,353||2,378||3,128|
|Marketed production of natural gas (million cu m)||89,235||76||94,55||2,65||12,2||11,7||21,8||43,5||71,24||46,6||28,9|
|Refinery capacity (1,000 b/d)||462||1,057||1,474||603||936||380||445||80||2,091||466||1,054|
|Output of refined products (1,000 b/d)||452||1,054||1,44||477||911||460||388||119||1,974||442||1,198|
|Consumption of refined products (1,000 b/d)||246||1,14||1,512||514||249||243||253||60||1,227||204||506|
|Crude oil exports (1,000 b/d)||970||374||2,395||1,472||1,65||1,306||2,326||677||7,209||2,195||2,198|
|Exports of refined products (1,000 b/d)||464||142||402||14||614||163||49||77||1,385||509||609|
|Natural gas exports (million cu m)||64,266||36,6||4,735||--||--||5,4||12||27,6||--||7,499||--|
OPEC's objective is to co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies among Member Countries, in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers; an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair return on capital to those investing in the industry.
These were OPEC’s formative years, with the Organization, which had started life as a group of five oil-producing, developing countries, seeking to assert its Member Countries’ legitimate rights in an international oil market dominated by the ‘Seven Sisters’ multinational companies. Activities were generally of a low-profile nature, as OPEC set out its objectives, established its Secretariat, which moved from Geneva to Vienna in 1965, adopted resolutions and engaged in negotiations with the companies. Membership grew to ten during the decade.
OPEC rose to international prominence during this decade, as its Member Countries took control of their domestic petroleum industries and acquired a major say in the pricing of crude oil on world markets. There were two oil pricing crises, triggered by the Arab oil embargo in 1973 and the outbreak of the Iranian Revolution in 1979, but fed by fundamental imbalances in the market; both resulted in oil prices rising steeply. The first Summit of OPEC Sovereigns and Heads of State was held in Algiers in March 1975. OPEC acquired its 11th and final current Member, Nigeria, in 1971.
Prices peaked at the beginning of the decade, before beginning a dramatic decline, which culminated in a collapse in 1986 — the third oil pricing crisis. Prices rallied in the final years of the decade, without approaching the high levels of the early-1980s, as awareness grew of the need for joint action among oil producers if market stability with reasonable prices was to be achieved in the future. Environmental issues began to appear on the international agenda.
A fourth pricing crisis was averted at the beginning of the decade, on the outbreak of hostilities in the Middle East, when a sudden steep rise in prices on panic-stricken markets was moderated by output increases from OPEC Members. Prices then remained relatively stable until 1998, when there was a collapse, in the wake of the economic downturn in South-East Asia. Collective action by OPEC and some leading non-OPEC producers brought about a recovery. As the decade ended, there was a spate of mega-mergers among the major international oil companies in an industry that was experiencing major technological advances. For most of the 1990s, the ongoing international climate change negotiations threatened heavy decreases in future oil demand.
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Functions
The OPEC Member Countries coordinate their oil production policies in order to help stabilise the oil market and to help oil producers achieve a reasonable rate of return on their investments. This policy is also designed to ensure that oil consumers continue to receive stable supplies of oil.
The Ministers of energy and hydrocarbon affairs meet twice a year to review the status of the international oil market and the forecasts for the future in order to agree upon appropriate actions which will promote stability in the oil market.
The Member Countries also hold other meetings at various levels of interest, including meetings of petroleum and economic experts, country representatives and special purpose bodies such as committees to address environmental affairs.
Decisions about matching oil production to expected demand are taken at the Meeting of the OPEC Conference. Details of such decisions are communicated in the form of OPEC Press Releases.
The OPEC Secretariat is a permanent inter-governmental body. The Secretariat which has been based in Vienna since 1965, provides research and administrative support to the MCs. The Secretariat also disseminates news and information to the World at large.
The official language of the Secretariat is English.