Organization Of The Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC): Notes for UPSC Exam

OPEC stands for Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. It is a permanent, intergovernmental organization, created at the Baghdad Conference in September 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Currently, it has 13 members. The topic ‘OPEC’ is important for IAS Exam from GS-II perspective and this article will give the relevant details about it.

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History of OPEC

Government representatives from Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela met in Baghdad to discuss ways to increase the price of crude oil produced by their countries, and ways to respond to unilateral actions by the MOCs.

Despite strong opposition from the US, Saudi Arabia, along with other Arab and non-Arab oil producers, formed the Organization of Petroleum Producing Countries to get the best price possible from major oil corporations. Originally, Arab nations advocated for Beirut or Baghdad to be the headquarters of the OPEC but under strong objections from Venezuela, on basis of neutral grounds, Geneva in Switzerland was chosen. Due to Switzerland not extending diplomatic assurances, the headquarters of OPEC was shifted to Vienna, Austria on 1st September 1st, 1965.

By the early 1970s, OPEC’s membership accounted for more than half of worldwide oil production.

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 2019 OPEC World Oil Outlook (WOO) was launched on November 5, 2019, at the Wiener Börse in Vienna, Austria. The 13th edition of the WOO was about an in-depth review of the OPEC Secretariat’s medium- to long-term projections and assessment for the global oil and energy industry. The next meeting of OPEC is scheduled on December 5 at its headquarters in Vienna.

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The five Founding Members were later joined by eight other Members:

  1. Qatar (1961)
  2. Indonesia (1962)
  3. Socialist Peoples Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (1962)
  4. United Arab Emirates (1967)
  5. Algeria (1969)
  6. Nigeria (1971)
  7. Ecuador (1973–1992)
  8. Gabon (1975–1994)

Objective of OPEC

OPEC’s main objectives are given below:

  1.  Unification and coordination of petroleum policies among Member Countries, in order to achieve just and stable prices for petroleum producers
  2.  Ensuring of an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations and an adequate return of investment

Functions of OPEC

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) has a working methodology which is mentioned below.

  • The OPEC Member Countries adjust their oil productions activities in order to bring stability to the petroleum market and help manufacturers get a good return on their investments. This policy is also designed to ensure that oil consumers continue to receive stable supplies of oil.
  • Twice a year, the ministry of energy and hydrocarbon affairs meet twice a year to review the status of the international oil market and decide upon steps that will bring security in the oil market
  • The Member Countries also hold other meetings that address various point of interests including that of petroleum and economic experts nad specialized bodies such as committees and panels in charge of the environment.

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