What is OPEC and its role in the oil business?

Crude oil prices spiked after Wednesday's meeting held in Vienna, Austria by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

We'll get to what that means for all parties involved, but many have asked what exactly is OPEC and its role in the oil industry?

OPEC is an intergovernmental organization created in 1960 with an objective to coordinate petroleum prices among the member countries to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers. 

There are 14 total member countries in the organization. The original five founding member countries were the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The countries of Angola, Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were added later.

Throughout its history, OPEC has played a major role in the changing ways oil is sold, purchased and to a certain extent consumed, especially at their peak in the 1970s where they took control of their domestic petroleum industries acquiring a major say in the pricing of crude oil on a world market level.

Back to present day, Wednesday's OPEC decision will end the world's largest oil producers’ global glut by cutting its output by 1.2 million barrels a day by January, according to the agreement. 

The deal is also contingent on an additional 600,000 barrels by other non-OPEC countries, like the United States or Russia who surprised many by taking on half of that burden by willing to cut 300,000 barrels.

The 2015 total estimates have about 81-percent of the world's proven crude oil reserves being located in OPEC member countries. 

If this goes into full effect, it will end the two-year price war between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. U.S. benchmark crude soared over 9-percent to settle around $49.44 per barrel. But is it sustainable?

This is the first cut in eight years, and though OPEC reduction is equal to one-percent of worldwide production, what does this action actually mean in terms of gas prices?

Assuming all parties involved adhere to the cuts then time will tell, but if it's dismissed then expect things to stay unchanged.

A Dec. 9 meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC producers will be important and more telling to if the crude oil prices spike will sustain.

Copyright 2016 KXTV


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