What is OPEC?

From the July 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

Established in 1960, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is a cartel of major oil-producing nations. Its headquarters is in Vienna, Austria. Current membership comprises Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Opec’s activities embrace the full gamut of oil negotiations, which include establishing crude oil prices and production quotas.

In 1973 opec quadrupled the price of oil over a three-month period, imposing an oil embargo on those Western nations that had supported Israel against the Arab instigators of the Yom Kippur war. Ever since, opec’s use of the “oil weapon” has inspired greater assertiveness among developing countries and spurred their demands for a New International Economic Order.

In the 1980s, opec’s influence temporarily declined as Western nations turned to exploiting their own oil resources, sought alternative energy sources and initiated energy-reduction programs. As these efforts increasingly faltered, the West’s appetite for oil continued unabated and oil resources started to dry up, opec sprung back into focus as a heavyweight on the international political scene in the year 2000.