The Politics of Oil-Producer Cooperation

By Dag Harald Claes | Go to book overview

5
Price and Production Policy
of OPEC Countries
The previous three chapters have studied constraints on the oil-related behavior of OPEC members. This chapter focuses on the behavior of states themselves, or, more precisely, on the interaction between oil producers. In line with the multilevel approach outlined in section 1.4, the following four chapters represent studies of the interaction of states.The following discussion of the price and production policy of the OPEC members are organized into three periods. 1
1. The first period starts with the TehranTripoli agreements of 1971 and lasts until the eve of the second oil-price shock around 1981. In this period price-setting dominated OPEC policy and cooperation (see section 5.1).
2. The second period centers on the establishment of the quotas in 1982-83 and the following swing-producer policy of Saudi Arabia until 1985. This period is of crucial importance for understanding both the mistakes of the past and the future behavior of OPEC (see section 5.2).
3. The third period is from 1986 to present. The key problem in this period is the managing of the quota system, causing OPEC countries to abandon the ambition to set the oil price (see section 5.3).

As mentioned, the discussion is based on cartel theory, which will be described and related to the case of OPEC in Chapter 7. It should be emphasized that in this chapter only internal aspects of the price decisions are relevant. The aspects of price increase that are connected with the relationship between the oil producers and other market actors were discussed in Chapter 2. Thus, the first oil shock is less relevant to the discus

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