What led to the Formation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)?


As a reaction to the outrageous and unprecedented exploitation by the oil extracting multinational companies which at that time were controlling oil operations in the oil industry in the host countries, five of the Third World oil producing countries met at Baghdad, the capital of Iraq to form a countervailing power bloc against the oil companies.

The outcome of the the meeting of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela held from September 10-14, 1960, aimed at protecting their mutual interest and to counter the atrocious act of foreign oil companies who produce and sell the oil in accordance with their own interest and the dictates of their governments’ foreign policies, was the formation of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Through the activities of OPEC in curtailing the activities of the oil companies and in forestalling the downward trend in crude oil prices, other oil producing nations were attracted to the organisation which made its membership to increase from five to thirteen. Countries like Qatar (1961), Indonesia and Libya (1962), United Arab Emirate (1973), Algeria (1969), Nigeria (1971) Ecuador and Gabon (1973), were admitted into the cartel in the above stated years.

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