Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is an intergovernmental organization of 12 oil-exporting countries first established in 1960. OPEC’s objective is to co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies among its member countries with the goal of securing fair and stable prices for petroleum producers as well as the economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations.

OPEC’s influence on the market has been widely criticized, since it became effective in determining production and prices. Arab members of OPEC alarmed the developed world when they implemented oil embargoes and initiating the 1973 oil crisis. Since then, OPEC’s ability to control the price of oil has diminished due to subsequent discovery and development of large oil reserves in Alaska, the North Sea, Canada, the Gulf of Mexico, and Russia.

Nonetheless, OPEC members collectively hold 79% of world crude oil hold reserves and 44% of the world’s crude oil production, affording them considerable control over the global market.

OPEC produces numerous publications to inform the public about the Organization’s activities, and to disseminate data and information about OPEC member countries and the oil industry in general. The Monthly Oil Market Report analyzes the most important issues facing the world oil market. The World Oil Outlook, WOO, offers OPEC’s medium-to long-term outlook for the global oil market. The Annual Statistical Bulletin, ASB, collects statistical data from all member countries and the world regarding refining and consumption, exports and imports, pipelines and tankers and product output in relation to oil and gas reserves.
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