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Headquarters

Population

Land (sq kms)

Oil prod (000s b/d)

Gas prod (bcm/yr)

Oil cons (000s b/d)

Gas cons (bcm/yr)

Statistics

Vienna

201 mm

11,854,241

38,501

755

10,437

542

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is an inter-governmental group created in 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. It was later joined by 11 other countries and moved from Geneva to Vienna in 1965.

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.

OPEC's main 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.

The organisation, as a swing producer, tries to do this by agreeing an oil price and restricting or releasing output (shared out on the basis of reserves) to match demand at that price.

Ecuador left the group in 1992, then rejoined in 2007 before leaving again in 2019. Gabon left the group in 1994 and rejoined in 2016. Indonesia left in 2008, rejoined in 2015 but was then suspended in 2016 for failing to agree on output cuts. Qatar left in 2018.

Meanwhile Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Congo-Brazzaville joined OPEC in 2007, 2017 and 2018 respectively. The OPEC+ countries, led by Russia, first agreed to try to work with OPEC on restrictions at the end of 2017.  

Political Group

OPEC

CARACAS, VENEZUELA

A founder member of OPEC

In 2014 OPEC was unable to fill a growing supply gap even though economists believed that it held spare capacity. Higher prices then encouraged growth in US shale oil and a glut of oil appeared on the market.

The oil price collapsed and OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, abandoned its policy of restricting output in the hope that the USA and other high cost oil producers would be forced by low prices to cut output (and drilling).

During this return to a market-led strategy output from OPEC was boosted, although there remained a lack of unity amongst members due to differing needs and objectives. A year later the oil price remained persistently low and restrictions on output were re-instated in 2016 (the first new agreement since 2008) and later extended to 2018. Some non-OPEC nations also agreed to reduce output, including Russia (OPEC+).

However, after prices began to rise again at the beginning of 2018, OPEC and its Russia-led allies in OPEC+ relaxed their controls and shale oil output from the USA also began to rise.

As expected the rise in price was short-lived. Towards the end of 2018 new restrictions (totalling 1.2 mm bbls per day) were introduced for 2019. These restrictions were generally adhered to until the beginning of 2020 when Saudi Arabia, recognising a severe glut was building requested a firming of restriction agreements.

Just as COVID-19 began to cause deep declines in global demand Russia, refusing to be a secondary partner to OPEC, decided to abandon the OPEC+ agreement, forcing the OPEC countries to threaten rapid growth in their own output. These threats were short-lived as Russia realised the effect of its disastrous decision on its own ability to raise foreign exchange.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in early April, with oil prices at two-decade lows, new emergency meetings were called. With Russia (and Mexico after intervention by the USA) now in agreement, the OPEC+ group announced a 10% planned reduction from May 2020 for 2 months, representing 9.7 mm bbls per day. The baseline production was set at October 2018 except for Saudi Arabia and Russia, both with a level of 11.0 mm bbls per day.

However, it is unlikely that the full scale of cuts will be met by most of the signatories. Russia, in particular, failed to comply fully under its previous agreement.

For the subsequent period of 6 months from July 2020 to December 2020, the adjustment will be 7.7 mm bbls per day followed by a 5.8 mm bbl per day adjustment for 16 months from 1 January 2021 to April 2022 with an extension review in December 2021. Saudi Arabia and Russia will also be open to further output cuts if this reduction in supplies fails to stem the drop in price.

Members/Ex-members


Iran (1960)

Iraq (1960)

Kuwait (1960)

Saudi Arabia (1960)

Venezuela (1960)

Qatar (1961-2018)

Libya (1962)

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

United Arab Emirates (1967)

Algeria (1969)

Nigeria (1971)

Ecuador (1973-1992, 2007*-2019)

Gabon (1975-1994, 2016*)

Angola (2007)

Equatorial Guinea (2017)

Congo -Brazzaville (2018)


* rejoined

** suspended after failing to agree on production cuts




OPEC+ countries:

Russia

Azerbaijan

Bahrain

Brunei

Kazakhstan

Malaysia

Mexico

Oman

South Sudan

Sudan (North)

OPEC Charts Datafiles

Excel files - histories and forecasts of production and wells for all countries and regions

Charts