Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries

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Founded 1960
Products Intergovernmental organization
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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent intergovernmental organization, created in 1960 at the Baghdad Conference by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

These five founding members were later joined by nine other Members: Qatar (1961); Indonesia (1962); Socialist Peoples Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (1962); United Arab Emirates (1967); Algeria (1969); Nigeria (1971); Ecuador (1973) -- suspended its membership from December 1992-October 2007; Angola (2007); and Gabon (1975–1994).[1]

OPEC's objective is to co-ordinate petroleum policies among its member countries to ensure stable petroleum prices and deliver an efficient and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations, as well as a fair return on capital to those investing in the industry.

The OPEC Reference Basket is a weighted average of oil blends from various OPEC countries.


In the 1960s, OPEC sought to asserts its member countries' rights in an international oil market dominated by the ‘Seven Sisters’ multinational companies. OPEC kept a relatively low profile then, as it set out its objectives and established its Secretariat, which moved from Geneva to Vienna in 1965, adopted resolutions and engaged in negotiations with the companies.

OPEC rose to international prominence during the 1970s. Its members 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. They were both 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 Member, Nigeria, in 1971.[2]

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  1. About Us. OPEC.
  2. About Us: A Brief History of OPEC. OPEC.