OPEC Current Affairs - 2019
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Qatar has announced its withdrawal from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) from January 2019 and focus more on the production of natural gas. It makes Qatar first Gulf country to leave OPEC bloc of oil-producing countries led by Saudi Arabia.
Qatar has been member of OPEC since 1961 and its decision to pull out after more than five decades comes at turbulent time in Gulf politics. It is under boycott from its neighbouring gulf allies including Saudi Arabia for 18 months (since August 2017).
Qatar is the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas (LPG) and 17th largest producer of crude oil (around 600,000 barrels per day). It also only holds around 2% of the world’s global oil reserves. The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar’s desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production from 77 million tonnes per year to 110 million tonnes in the coming years. Being part of OPEC its oil production was steady with limited prospects for increases. Since 2013, amount of oil Qatar produced has steadily declined from about 728,000 barrels per day (2013) to about 607,000 barrels per day (2017), or just under 2% of OPEC’s total output.
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization (or cartel) of 15 oil-exporting developing nations that coordinates and unifies the petroleum policies of its member countries. It was established in 1960 in Baghdad, Iraq by the first five members. Its headquarters are in Vienna, Austria.
Its mission is to coordinate and unify petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure stabilization of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, steady income to producers and fair return on capital for those investing in petroleum industry.
OPEC member countries accounted for an estimated 43% of global oil production and 73% of the “proven” world’s oil reserves. Two-thirds of OPEC’s oil production and reserves are in its six Middle Eastern (west Asian) countries that surround the oil-rich Persian Gulf.
- Asia and Middle East: Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia (de facto leader of OPEC), Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Qatar (to withdraw from January 2019)
- Africa: Algeria, Angola, Libya, Congo Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon
- South/Latin America: Ecuador and Venezuela
India is coordinating with China and other Asian countries to raise voice against Asian premium charged by Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Indian Oil Corporation Chairman Sanjiv Singh will coordinate with head of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to chalk out strategy that will result in getting better price from OPEC countries.
Asian Premium is extra charge being collected by OPEC countries from Asian countries when selling oil in comparison to western countries. For example, production cost of one barrel of crude oil is Rs. 100 in OPEC countries. These countries want to make profit of Rs. 100 so they ideally should sell one barrel for Rs. 200. But under Asian Premium pricing mechanism, OPEC countries gives discriminatory treatment to Asian countries (though being largest importer of OPEC produced oil) by charging them Rs. 220 per barrel and on other side giving discount to western countries by selling them at Rs.180 or below one 180 per barrel. The discriminatory Asian Premium is mainly used by OPEC countries to subsidised western buyers at cost of Asian buyers
India sources about 86% of crude oil, 75% of natural gas and 95% of LPG from OPEC member nations. It has been voicing its dissent against this discriminatory practice and has called for replacing Asian Premium with Asian Discount (dividend). India has emphasized implementation of ‘Responsible and Reasonable Pricing’ by oil producing countries, given importance of Asian markets for OPEC, particularly fast growing energy markets in the region as they are reliable and continued customer. The removal of discriminatory Asian Premium will allow poor Asian countries including India to provide energy to people who have been deprived of energy so far.
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
The OPEC is an intergovernmental organization (or cartel) of 14 oil-exporting developing nations that coordinates and unifies the petroleum policies of its member countries. It was established in 1960 in Baghdad, Iraq by the first five members. Its headquarters are in Vienna, Austria.
OPEC Members are Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia (de facto leader of OPEC), Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (from Asia and Middle East); Algeria, Angola, Libya, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon (from Africa); Ecuador and Venezuela (from South/Latin America).
As of 2015, these 14 OPEC member countries accounted for an estimated 43% of global oil production and 73% of the “proven” world’s oil reserves. Two-thirds of OPEC’s oil production and reserves are in its six Middle Eastern (west Asian) countries that surround the oil-rich Persian Gulf.