Where Is OPEC Headquartered?

Oil pipe line valve in front of the barrels with OPEC siymbol.
Oil pipe line valve in front of the barrels with OPEC siymbol.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is an intergovernmental organization made up of 14 oil-producing states. The organization was formed at a conference in Baghdad City between September 10 to 14, 1960, by five countries; Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Venezuela, to secure stable and fair oil prices by maintaining a regular supply of petroleum and ensuring a balance between demand and supply. They were later joined by ten members; Qatar, Indonesia, Libya, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Nigeria, Ecuador, Angola, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Congo. Qatar joined OPEC in 1961 but terminated its membership in January 2019 after a strained relationship with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Indonesia joined in 1962 but left in 2009; it rejoined in January 2016 only to leave again nine months later. During formation, Middle Eastern countries sought to establish the headquarters in Beirut or Baghdad, but Venezuela argued for a neutral location. OPEC settled for Geneva, Switzerland, where the headquarters was based for five years before relocating to Vienna, Austria, in September 1965 After Switzerland declined to offer diplomatic privileges to member states.

Objective of OPEC

OPEC accounts for 44% of the oil produced and over 81% of the world's oil reserves, giving the organization a significant influence on the global prices that were initially determined by the "Seven Sisters" multinational companies. OPEC seeks to unify and coordinate petroleum policies of member states and stabilize the oil market to secure an efficient and regular supply of oil to consumers and a steady income to producers. OPEC ensures that countries have national sovereignty over natural resources and has played a prominent role in setting global oil prices and fostering international relations.

OPEC Secretariat

The Secretariat is the executive organ of OPEC. It is located in the organization's headquarters in Vienna. The Secretariat implements the resolution passed by the Conference and the decisions agreed upon by the Board of Governors. It is also responsible for conducting research and reporting findings that are vital inputs for decision making. The Secretariat is made up of the Secretary-General who is also the Chief Executive Officer, the Legal 0ffice, Research Division, and the support staff required for daily operations. The Secretariat was established in 1961; it was based in Geneva, Switzerland but moved to Vienna, Austria alongside the headquarters.

OPEC Seminar

The OPEC Seminar is a premier event on the world energy calendar. It is held at the organization's headquarters. Participants include Ministers from member states, non-member oil-producing nations, and petroleum consuming countries, as well as chief executives of multinational oil companies, intergovernmental organizations, industry leaders, energy experts, specialist media, and academics. The Seminar, which was first held in 2001 provides a platform to discuss key industry issues and develop new avenues of cooperation and dialogue. Over the years, the Seminar has attracted more participants and has embraced new concerns such as global finance and economics, sustainable development, and the environment. Recent interests include global oil prices, political instability in member states, climate change, embargoes and sanctions, and future threats to oil production.


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