An international intergovernmental organization set up by oil-producing countries to control oil production quotas. Often regarded as a cartel. OPEC includes 15 countries: Algeria, Angola, Venezuela, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, the Republic of Kongo, Qatar, Libya, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Equatorial Guinea and Ecuador. The headquarters is located in Vienna. The Secretary General (since August 1, 2016) is Mohammed Barkindo.
As of 2018, the 15 countries accounted for an estimated 44 percent of global oil production and 81.5 percent of the world’s «proven» oil reserves, giving OPEC a major influence on global oil prices that were previously determined by the American-dominated so-called «Seven Sisters” grouping of multinational oil companies. The goal of OPEC is to coordinate activities and develop a common policy on oil production among the member countries of the organization, maintain stable oil prices, ensure stable supplies of oil to consumers, and benefit from investment in the oil industry.
The energy and oil ministers of the OPEC member countries meet twice a year to assess the international oil market and forecast its development for the future. At these meetings decisions are made on the actions that need to be taken to stabilize the market. Decisions on changes in the volume of oil production in accordance with changes in market demand are made at OPEC conferences.
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