OPEC: Origins and Strategy 1947–1973

  (13) 978-1-84097-090-6  Extent:  6 volumes, 4,400 pages
Editor: A. Burdett  Published: 2004
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available

This collection of documents is a selection of official British government records pertaining to the creation of OPEC in 1960, and the activities of precursor and related bodies and events from 1947. The volumes cover OPEC’s major meetings from 1960–1973, the reactions and evolving policy decisions on the part of British officials, diplomats and politicians at every level, as well as British interaction, co-operation and differences with the United States and the European Community, through the records of the Cabinet, the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Fuel and Power, Prime Minister’s Office and the Treasury. British records are naturally dominated and informed by the relations with the major domestic oil companies, BP and Shell, through which many of the records tracing OPEC’s activities were obtained.


Volume 1: 1947-1959
Volume 2: 1960-1963
Volume 3: 1963-1966
Volume 4: 1967-1971
Volume 5: 1971-1972
Volume 6: 1972-1973

Volume 1: 1947-1959

  • Western recognition of the need to assert control over world oil stocks
  • Proposals from International Co-operative Alliance, USA, to place Middle East oil under UN control, 1947/1948
  • 50/50 tax legislation introduced between Saudi Arabia and ARAMCO, 1951
  • Boycott of oil supplies to Israel 1953
  • 50/50 tax legislation Kuwait, 1954
  • Proposal for a 75/25 system of tax legislation, 1955
  • Venezuelan response to the First Arab Oil Experts Congress, 1957
  • First Arab League Petroleum Congress, Cairo, 1959

Volume 2: 1960-1963

  • Oil company plans to cut posted prices, 1960
  • Middle East support for the alternative plans outlined by Peres Alfonso, Venezuelan Minister of Mines, 1960
  • The creation of OPEC, 1960. Founder members: Iran; Iraq; Kuwait; Saudi Arabia; Venezuela
  • Resolutions from the 1st , 2nd and 3rd conferences
  • Qatar becomes an full member of OPEC, 1961
  • Arab Economic League Council’s proposals for an Arab tanker fleet and pipeline, 1961
  • Iraq’s demands to increase control of petroleum operations and finances, 1961
  • OPEC interest in Russian Oil policy, 1961
  • Iraq/Kuwait dispute, 1961
  • Reactions in Qatar to the 4th Conference resolutions
  • OPEC calls for negotiations on oil prices based on posted prices and for long term price policy, on royalty payments and on marketing expenses, 1962
  • Indonesia and Libya become full members of OPEC, 1962
  • Negotiations between Iran and the Consortium, and Saudi Arabia and ARAMCO, 1962
  • Oil companies accept the principle of OPEC, and Mr Rouhani in particular, negotiating on behalf of member states, 1963
  • Venezuela and OPEC begin to have diverging aims, 1963

Volume 3: 1963-1966

  • OPEC negotiates with oil companies on behalf of Iran, 1963
  • British liaison with US State Dept over oil company terms, 1963
  • Mr Rouhani to represent Saudi Arabia with ARAMCO and Libya with Esso, 1963
  • Iran and Saudi Arabia agree to Consortium offer ahead of OPEC conference, Beirut 1963
  • OPEC rejects Consortium offer at Beirut conference
  • Iraq and Venezuela hold opposing position to Iran, early 1964
  • Iran’s position within OPEC and the view of the Shah, 1964
  • ARAMCO negotiations with Saudi Arabia, 1964
  • Saudi Arabia and Iran liaise on oil company negotiations, 1964
  • Issue of expensing royalties dominates the 6th Conference, 1964
  • Commitment by all member states to progressing Resolution IV.32 - on posted prices
  • Oil companies concede on the Arbitration Clause, January 1965
  • OPEC moves from Geneva to Vienna, 1965
  • Resolution IX.61: possible introduction of a planned production programme to limit price falls, 1965
  • Saudi Arabian comment on the revision of the royalty and expensing payment systems, 1966

Volume 4: 1967-1971

  • Western opinions regarding the political aspects of the Sixth Arab Petroleum Congress, March 1967
  • United Arab Emirates become an full member of OPEC, 1967
  • OPEC having only moderate influence on production programming in Saudi Arabia, 1967
  • Impact of the Six-Day War: the Arab oil boycott, 1967
  • UK and US concerns about oil supply, 1967
  • ARAMCO offer to Saudi Arabia on royalty expensing and the elimination of discounts in return for the reopening of Tapline and the Suez Canal, 1967
  • The Second International Symposium on Energy, Rome 1968: OPEC statement reporting oil companies agreement to phase out the royalty-expensing allowances between 1967 and 1974
  • OPEC interest in European energy markets, 1968
  • Creation of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, 1968, with statement of the aims of OAPEC by Shaikh Zaki Yamani
  • Meeting of the Representatives of the National Oil Companies of OPEC member countries, 1968
  • Views held by Shaikh Zaki Yamani as the spokesman for OAPEC, 1968
  • Libyan moves upon the OPEC Conservation Law, (Petroleum Regulation 8), 1968
  • Global oil problems: disruption to Middle East oil supplies; slow down in off-take; world oil prices, 1969
  • Algeria becomes an full member of OPEC, 1969
  • Revolution in Libya and the new regime, 1969
  • The potential impact on US oil interests of their political policy in the Middle East, 1969
  • Implementation and enforcement of Petroleum Conservation regulation No. 8 by Libya, 1969

  • Libya negotiates successfully with the oil companies, with particular reference to posted prices, 1970
  • OPEC support for the Algerian Government, 1970
  • Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya and Saudi Arabia create an Inter-ministerial Committee on the implementation of the principle of participation, 1970
  • Co-ordination of a joint approach by consumer-countries to negotiations with OPEC, 1970
  • Major oil companies set about creating a joint oil company organisation, 1971
  • Nigeria becomes an full member of OPEC, 1971
  • Two ‘factions’ emerge within OPEC: the Gulf producers; and the Mediterranean group, 1971
  • Oil companies’ strategy for negotiations with both groups: proposals to be presented simultaneously at Tehran and Tripoli, 1971
Volume 5: 1971-1972

  • The Tehran Agreement, 1971 relating to the Gulf countries of Abu Dhabi, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia
  • Implications of the Tehran agreement for the Mediterranean group, 1971
  • OPEC expresses concerns about the devaluation of the dollar, 1971
  • British government takes opposite view to oil companies regarding conceding the principle of participation, 1971
  • The Three Nation Committee intend to negotiate on behalf of the Gulf producers in seeking both host-country participation in existing concessions and an offset in real income to compensate for the current monetary crisis and the weak dollar, 1971
  • Governments and oil companies agree to act jointly in negotiations with OPEC and agree to reactivation of the London Policy Group, 1971
  • UK fears a threat to oil supplies, Libya seizes £294,000 from ESSO, 1971
  • Libya nationalises BP, 1971
  • OECD reviews its relationship with OPEC, 1971
  • Agreement reached on dollar parity, 1971
  • Further negotiations on participation at Geneva, 1972

Volume 6: 1972-1973

  • The principle of participation examined further by the British Government, 1972
  • ARAMCO/Saudi Arabia and the Consortium/Iran participation negotiations break down, 1972
  • Saudi Arabian attitudes harden as US major oil companies use hostile tactics, 1972
  • Iran moves towards greater involvement in oil production independently of OPEC, 1972
  • ARAMCO reports its concession of the principle of 20% participation to the London Policy Group, 1972
  • Kuwait Oil Company agrees to 20 % participation, 1972
  • British government anxious to avoid disruption of supply, 1972
  • Iraq nationalises IPC, 1972
  • Algeria associates the nationalisation of the oil company with the battle of the Palestinian people and urges other Arab countries to acquire sovereignty of their oil reserves, 1972
  • OPEC passes a resolution supporting Iraq, 1972
  • Saudi Arabia/ARAMCO negotiations stall on the issue of compensation, 1972
  • Agreement reached in Iran, 1972
  • Agreement reached in Saudi Arabia: updated book value is accepted in return for security of supply, 1972
  • Kuwaiti concerns over the timetable for 51% participation because of fears over depletion of reserves and the issue of buy-back oil, 1972
  • Negotiations on participation continue in Libya, 1972
  • Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi secure agreements on participation, 1972
  • Kuwait and Qatar sign the participation agreement, 1973
  • Iran and Iraq reach agreement with the Consortium, IPC and NIOC, 1973
  • OPEC discusses economic growth and dollar devaluation, 1973
  • Consumer countries propose an anti-OPEC coalition, 1973
  • The Geneva Agreement on currency parity changes is renegotiated, 1973
  • The transformation of the Arab position by their ability to use oil for political purposes, 1973
  • Code of practice on pollution to be drawn up, 1973
  • The negotiations in Vienna, October 1973, signal the final complete transfer of control over the price system into the hands of the producers
  • OPEC secures a 70% increase in the posted prices, 1973
  • OAPEC uses the ‘oil weapon’ to support Egypt and Syria in their war against Israel, 1973
  • Embargoes on the USA and the Netherlands, 1973
  • Shaikh Ahmed Yamani and Belaid Abdesselam visit oil importing countries to explain the policy objectives of the Arab oil restrictions, 1973
  • OPEC seeks to create a pricing policy, 1973
  • OPEC approves a dramatic increase in the price of Arabian crude, December 1973, for the start of the New Year