16 September 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, clocked 58 on Friday, September 2018.
On September 14, 1960, the five founding fathers of OPEC, Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo of Venezuela, Abdullah al-Tariki of Saudi Arabia, Dr Tala’at al-Shaibani of Iraq, Dr Fuad Rouhani of IR Iran and Ahmed Sayed Omar of Kuwait came together in Baghdad at the Al-Shaab Hall in the Bab Al-Muaatham district to establish OPEC at what is now known as the historic ‘Baghdad Conference’.
Fifty-eight years ago, these five founding members representing their oil-producing nations, joined collectively around the premise of cooperation, with a commitment to safeguard their legitimate national interests and to ensure order and stability in the international oil market.
In a speech by the current Secretary-General, Mohammad Barkindo, he said when the organisation was set up, there were some who predicted that it would not last long.
“Yet, little by little, OPEC began to make its mark. In this light, the formation of OPEC was a pioneering act, an act that demonstrated that even developing countries had rights”, he said.
Since then, the group has been joined by many new members, with the Organisation now standing at 15 countries, the Republic of the Congo is the most recent member to join in June 2018.
Over the years, the Organisation has demonstrated repeatedly its commitment to market order and stability, to enhancing and building better cooperation and dialogue among producers and consumers, as well as international organisations, and to helping tackle challenges, including those related to the environment and sustainable development.
This has been clearly emphasised over the past 20 months through the landmark ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ between 25 OPEC and non-OPEC producers.
Speaking further, Barkindo said “it is important to recognise this day, to firstly pause and acknowledge the past, to highlight just how far OPEC has come and to remember all those people that have worked so hard and sacrificed so much for the Organization. And secondly, to think about the future; I firmly believe the Organization’s, as well as the oil industry’s, best days still lie ahead.”