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Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

Topics covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
  2. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.
  3. Infrastructure- energy.


Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)


What to study?

  • Static Part: About OPEC, Why Qatar is leaving?
  • Dynamic and Current: Implications, challenges on Qatar’s exit, What’s the way out?


Context: Qatar has announced that it would leave OPEC on January 1, 2019. The decision comes just days before OPEC and its allies are scheduled to hold a meeting in Vienna, Austria. Qatar said it is leaving OPEC in order to focus on gas production.


What’s the issue?

The decision to pull out after more than five decades comes at a turbulent time in Gulf politics, with Doha under a boycott by former neighbouring allies including Saudi Arabia for 18 months.

Since June 2017, OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia — along with three other Arab states — has cut trade and transport ties with Qatar, accusing the country of supporting terrorism and its regional rival Iran. Qatar denies the claims, saying the boycott hampers its national sovereignty.



Qatar’s oil production is around 600,000 barrels per day, making it the world’s 17th largest producer of crude. It also only holds around two percent of the world’s global oil reserves.


About OPEC:

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a group of oil-producing nations that was first established in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1961. OPEC is one of the most powerful international organizations in the world and was a major player in the shift towards state control over natural resources.



The OPEC Statute distinguishes between the Founder Members and Full Members – those countries whose applications for membership have been accepted by the Conference.

  • The Statute stipulates that “any country with a substantial net export of crude petroleum, which has fundamentally similar interests to those of Member Countries, may become a Full Member of the Organization, if accepted by a majority of three-fourths of Full Members, including the concurring votes of all Founder Members.”
  • The Statute further provides for Associate Members which are those countries that do not qualify for full membership, but are nevertheless admitted under such special conditions as may be prescribed by the Conference.
  • Currently, the Organization has a total of 15 Member Countries. The current OPEC members are the following: AlgeriaAngolaEcuadorEquatorial Guinea

GabonIranIraqKuwaitLibyaNigeriaQatar, the Republic of the CongoSaudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates, and Venezuela

  • Indonesiais a former member, and Qatar will no longer be the member of OPEC starting on 1 January 2019.


Sources: the hindu.