Definition of OPEC

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries


   (Concise Encyclopedia)

Multinational organization established in 1960 to coordinate the petroleum production and export policies of its members. Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela were the original members; they were joined by Qatar (1961), Indonesia and Libya (1962), Abu Dhabi (1967; membership transferred to the United Arab Emirates, 1974), Algeria (1967), Nigeria (1971), and Angola (2007). Ecuador (1973) and Gabon (1975) are no longer OPEC members. Policy decisions are taken by consensus at its Vienna headquarters. In 1973 OPEC began a series of oil price increases in retaliation for Western support of Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, and OPEC members' income greatly increased as a result. Internal dissent, the development of alternative energy sources in the West, and Western exploitation of oil sources in non-OPEC countries subsequently combined to reduce the organization's influence. OPEC countries supply about two-fifths of the world's oil consumption and possess about two-thirds of the world's proven oil reserves.

Variants of OPEC

OPEC in full Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries


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