Opec: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries

Article excerpt

The Conference recognized and appreciated the production cuts pledged by some non-OPEC oil-producing countries, in particular the Sultanate of Oman, Mexico and others, and agreed to continue consultations with the non-OPEC oil producers so as to establish and maintain stability in the oil market in the future. The Conference also appealed to other non-OPEC oil exporters to support these measures to stabilize the market by moderating their output, in the interests of all concerned The Conference, having reviewed the current market situation, agreed to make further reductions in the production of member countries (excluding Iraq), bringing total reductions to 2.6 mb/d, so that the base (using February 1998 production levels as given by OPEC.

THE ORGANIZATION OF THE PETROLEUM EXPORTING COUNTRIES is a permanent, intergovernmental Organization, created at the Baghdad Conference of September 10-14, 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The five Founding Members were later joined by eight Qther Members: Qatar (1961); Indonesia (1962); Socialist Peoples Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (1962); United Arab Emirates (1967): Algeria (1969); Nigeria (1971); Ecuador [(1973-1992).sup.*] and Gabon [(1975-1994).sup.*] OPEC transferred its headquarters from Geneva, Switzerland, to Vienna, Austria, on 1 September 1965, and moved into the present Secretariat building in 1977.

OPEC's objective is to co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies among member countries, in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers; an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair return on capital to those investing in the industry.

The OPEC Conference of Ministers meets in ordinary session twice, a year; and is responsible for the formulation bf the general policy of the Organization.

The 1990s

At the fifth Meeting of the Ministerial Monitoring Committee, held on 16-17 March 1990, in Vienna, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the November 1989 pricing and production agreement. On 2-3 May 1990, the Sixth Meeting of the Monitoring Committee, convened in Geneva to address the problem of over-supply in the oil market and the consequent deterioration in crude oil prices, unanimously agreed to take immediate collective action to cut back OPEC production by 1.445 mb/d, the reduction to remain valid until the end of July 1990.

The 87th Meeting of the Conference, held on 26-27 July 1990, in Geneva, after reviewing the oil market situation, decided to make the minimum reference price for the OPEC crude basket at $21/b, and that the total ceiling for OPEC production for the second half of 1990 should be set at 22.491 mb/d. It was also decided that the Monitoring Committee should henceforth comprise all 13 OPEC Oil Ministers.

On 8 August 1990, the OPEC Secretariat issued a statement by HE Sadek Boussena, President of the Conference and Minister of Mines & Industry of Algeria, in connection with the developments in the oil market following the outbreak of the Gulf crisis on 2 August. The President said fears expressed concerning possible disruption of oil supply in the short term were the result of psychological and speculative factors rather than the manifestation of real market fundamentals. Nonetheless, OPEC was aware that the developments induced by the events in the Gulf were fraught with uncertainty as regards the equilibrium and stability of the international oil market, as well as the integrity of the Organization. OPEC would accordingly carefully monitor the evolution of the situation and assess its implications for world oil supply for member countries' revenues and for the interests of both producers and consumers, and take whatever action was deemed necessary. HE Boussena stressed, however, that ensuring stability of su pply to the market was the shared responsibility of all oil producers, the international oil industry, the consuming countries' governments and international energy agencies. …