Background On OPEC

OPEC logo on a oil barrel with an oil rig in the background
The president of OPEC said today that the 11 members of the oil cartel have agreed to trim production by 1 million barrels a day. But after a week of talks, they are still negotiating over how the cut will be divided among them.

What Is OPEC?

OPEC's mission is to coordinate & unify the petroleum policies of Member Countries & ensure the stabilization of oil prices in order to secure an efficient, economic & regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers & a fair return on capital to those investing in the petroleum industry.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is not a homogenous group, but a collection of countries with divergent political and economic interests. As oil prices more than doubled over the last three years, OPEC members found it easy to agree on a common policy that brought them windfall revenue.

Where Is OPEC Based?

OPEC had its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in the first five years of its existence. This was moved to Vienna, Austria, on September 1, 1965.

Who Are OPEC's members?

OPEC member countries (11): Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela, plus the OPEC Secretariat in Vienna.

Why Does OPEC Want To trim Production?

In the last two years, OPEC producers have been steadily increasing their output to meet rising demand for oil and to make up for unexpected shortages in global supplies. That has led the group to raise its total output above 30 million barrels a day, the highest level in more than 25 years.

Now, with plentiful supplies, inventories high and demand slowing, OPEC finds itself having to shift its focus to manage a declining price pattern, reducing its production to keep world prices above certain levels.

Who Heads OPEC?

The Secretary General is the legally authorized representative of the Organization and Chief Executive of the Secretariat. In this capacity, he administers the affairs of the Organization in accordance with the directions of the Board of Governors. Mohammed S. Barkindo is the Acting Secretary General.

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