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The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is an inter-governmental group created in 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. OPEC was later joined by 10 other countries and moved headquarters from Geneva to Vienna in 1965 where it has been based ever since.

OPEC's stated objectives are to co-ordinate member oil policies in order to secure stable prices for exporters whilst ensuring regular supply to consumers and a fair return for investors. OPEC tries to do this by agreeing an appropriate oil price and restricting or releasing output (shared out on the basis of stated reserves owned by each country) to match demand at that price.

In 2014, as the oil price collapsed, OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, abandoned its policy of restricting output to support prices in the hope that shale oil from the USA and other high cost producers would be forced to cut output (and drilling) in the lower oil price conditions. This represented a return to a market-led strategy. It was heavily influenced by a lack of unity amongst OPEC members due to their differing needs and objectives. As the oil price remained persistently lower, restrictions on output were reinstated in 2016.

Political Group


Location of Secretariat: Vienna, Austria

Population of the group: 511 million     


A founder member of OPEC

Brief description of the group

Land area (sq kms)

Oil prod (000s b/d)

Gas prod (bcm/yr)

Oil cons (000s b/d)

Gas cons (bcm/yr)

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The Secretariat is the executive organ of OPEC in Vienna. It is responsible for the implementation of resolutions passed by the Conference, carries out decisions made by the Board of Governors, and conducts research.

The Secretariat consists of the Secretary General (CEO) and staff arranged into a Legal Division, Research Division and Support Services Division.

Members and year of joining:

Iran (1960)

Iraq (1960)

Kuwait (1960)

Saudi Arabia (1960)

Venezuela (1960)

Qatar (1961)

Libya (1962)

Indonesia (1962-2008, 2015*, 2016**)

United Arab Emirates (1967)

Algeria (1969)

Nigeria (1971)

Ecuador (1973-1992, 2007*)

Gabon (1975-1994, 2016*)

Angola (2007)

Equatorial Guinea (2017)

* rejoined

** suspended after failing to agree on production cuts


Vertical axis in chart corresponds to thousands of barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Oil -  fossil oil produced from on and offshore reservoirs, including tight sands/shales; and liquids extracted from gas.

Gas - sales gas produced from on and offshore reservoirs, including tight sands/shales and coal beds.O

Full breakdowns are available in datafiles.

Vertical axis in chart corresponds to number of wells spudded in year including stand-alone sidetracks.

Wells in chart include those drilled in exploratory and development categories for oil and gas, but excluding CBM.

Full breakdowns are available in datafiles.

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