OPEC from Myth to Reality

By Cuervo, Luis E. | Houston Journal of International Law, Spring 2008 | Go to article overview

OPEC from Myth to Reality


Cuervo, Luis E., Houston Journal of International Law


  I. INTRODUCTION--THE IMPORTANCE OF ENERGY
     SECURITY, RESOURCE DIPLOMACY, AND THE MAIN
     CHANGES IN NEARLY HALF A CENTURY OF OPEC'S
     FORMATION
     A. Energy Dependency, Foreign Policy, and
        the U.S. Example
     B. Some of the Major Changes in the Oil and Gas
        Industry Since OPEC's Formation
     C. Oil and Gas Will Be the Dominant Energy Sources
        for at Least Two More Generations
     D. A New OPEC in an International Environment in
        Which the End of the Hydrocarbon Era Is in Sight.

 II. ARE OPEC's GOALS AND STRUCTURE OUTDATED IN
     VIEW OF THE EMERGENT TRENDS IN THE
     INTERNATIONAL ENERGY INDUSTRY?

     A. OPEC's Formation and Goals
     B. Significant International Developments Since
        OPEC's Formation
        1. Permanent Sovereignty Over Natural Resources
           and a New International Economic Order
        2. Environmental Obligations and
           Climate Change
        3. International Integration Models Such as the
           European Union Experience
        4. Transparency and the Fight Against
           Corruption
        5. Resource Wars
        6. International Law
        7. Fuel Poverty and Hydrocarbon Development in
           Countries Affected by Trade Sanctions
        8. United States Based Litigation Against OPEC
        9. Consolidation of Saudi Arabia as Most
           Important Producer and Country with the Most
           Reserves and Its Foreign Policy Challenges
       10. Russia's Energy Power

III. CHALLENGES OF AMENDING OPEC AND ITS STATUTE
     A. Should OPEC's Objectives and Scope Go Beyond
        Playing a Role in Determining the International
        Price of Oil?
     B. Is OPEC Still Relevant in Determining the Price of
        Oil and Will this Continue in the Future?
     C. Some of the Challenges of Reforming OPEC
     D. Energy Security and a Potential OPEC Role

 IV. To WHAT EXTENT DO THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO
     THE U.N. SYSTEM AND THE ECONOMIC REALITIES OF
     THE 21ST CENTURY JUSTIFY A RETHINKING OF OPEC,
     ITS NATURE, OBJECTIVES AND ROLE?
     A. The U.N. Example
     B. The Millennium Summit and the Millennium
        Development Goals
     C. OPEC's Formation, Structure, and Statute
     D. Amendments to the OPEC Statute

  V. THE COMPARATIVE APPROACH
     A. The Texas Railroad Commission
     B. OECD and IEA
     C. The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)
     D. Committee on Energy in the U.N. Economic
        and Social Commission
     E. International Energy Forum (IEF)
     F. World Energy Council
     G. Latin America Energy Organization (OLADE)
     H. International Association of Oil and
        Gas Producers (OGP)
     I. Organization of Arab Pertoleum Exporting
        Countries (OAPEC)
     J. Latin American Reciprocal State Petroleum
        Assistance Association (ARPEL)

 VI. HOW CAN OPEC'S SECRETARIAT MEET THE
     CHALLENGES OF THE INTERNATIONAL OIL INDUSTRY IN
     THE 21ST CENTURY?
     A. OPEC's Secretariat, Its Mandate and Limitations
     B. Some Areas in Which a New OPEC Could
        Strengthen Its International Role
     C. Specific Recommendations Regarding Amendments
        to the OPEC Statute

VII. CONCLUSION

"When the rules of law and the rules of equity are in conflict, the rules of equity must prevail." (1)

"[W]e are Arab Muslims, and our religion and civilization enjoin us to cooperate with other peoples and to meet good with good. The world today is divided into one part with the soul, that is the Arabs, and one with the body, the West. We have the energy and you have the industries, and without a meeting of the soul and the body there is no life. Any separation of the two will only result in death. We want to give to the West and to take from it, and there is no taking without giving." (2)

I. INTRODUCTION--THE IMPORTANCE OF ENERGY SECURITY, RESOURCE DIPLOMACY, AND THE MAIN CHANGES IN NEARLY HALF A CENTURY OF OPEC'S FORMATION

The expression "mid-life" crisis is associated with that time when individuals reach their forties and ask themselves many questions about what they have done with their lives and what they want to do with whatever existence they think they may have left. …

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