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Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) consists of 12 countries that include Venezuela, the UAE (United Arab Emirates), Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Angola, Qatar, Ecuador, Nigeria, Iran, Libya, Iraq and Kuwait and is headquartered in Vienna. The organization was founded in the year 1960 and Founder Members of OPEC include Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

The organization was then subsequently registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations in the year 1962 through the United Nations Resolution Number 6363. The main goal of the said organization is identifying the best method of protecting and safeguarding the interests of OPEC as an organization as well as the interests of its member countries. As an organization, OPEC also seeks out the necessary ways and means that ensure that the price of oil in international oil markets is stable and is not characterized by harmful fluctuations.

Furthermore, the organization also takes into consideration the interests of the nations involved in the production of oil by ensuring that they have a steady stream of income from this product while at the same time, ensuring that countries who are on the consumer side receive a regular and reliable supply of the petroleum, thus ensuring that

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they receive a just return of the capital they invested in the industry. The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) headquartered in Kuwait aims to organize and manage the energy policies of Arab nations.

The organization was founded on January 9, 1968 by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Libya, the countries which were then known as the most conservative of the Arab oil states. The main goal of the organization was to separate the production of oil and its sale from the ongoing politics at the time due to the oil embargo that occurred in the year 1967, which in turn, was associated with the Six Day War. In the struggle against the country of Israel, the use of oil as a weapon was put into action after being proposed regularly at the Arab Petroleum Congress.

Other goals of the organization include the promotion of the oil interests of members of the organization, the enhancement and stimulation of cooperation among member countries in terms of marketing and production within the industry, the implementation of joint ventures in order to achieve diversity within the economy, the stabilization of the oil market and the provision of appropriate circumstances so as to ensure that capital and experience are invested in member countries.

The original intention of the OAPEC is to become a conservative political organization with membership restricted to those countries that exports oil and whose governments were deemed as radical such as Algeria and Egypt. In addition, it is the rule of the said organization that new countries who want to join OAPEC be approved first by the three founders before gaining membership to the organization. The original goal of the organization is to gain control of oil and prevent its use by the machinations of political and emotional forces.

By the early part of the year 1972, the criteria used by the organization to admit new members shifted to oil as a principal and important revenue source. Subsequently, countries such as Syria, Algeria, Egypt and Iraq were admitted into the fold. It must be noted that the founders of OAPEC considered Iraq as much too radical and did not approve of the country before. Thus, the organization became more activist in nature, which is in direct contradiction to its original intent.

References: Adelman, Morris (1993). The Economics of Petroleum Supply. Cambridge: MIT Press, US State Department. Foreign Relations of the United States 1964-1968, Volume XXXIV Energy, Diplomacy, and Global Issues, Document 260. Zycher, Benjamin. OPEC. The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics Zycher, Benjamin (2002). A Counterintuitive Perspective on Energy Policy. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Briefing

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