The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC):

OPEC is an intergovernmental organisation of countries whose role is to negotiate with the petroleum companies concerning the oil production.

The OPEC actually plays a regulatory role in the production and the price of oil by coordinating all the oil producing and exporting countries, notably through production quotas which directly influence the market prices.

The decisions made by OPEC are also influenced by different factors such as movements in the value of the American Dollar on the foreign exchange market, given that all the oil transactions are quoted in this currency. Therefore a falling dollar will also influence a general fall in the purchasing power of oil exporting countries for their purchases in foreign currencies.

Of course, the OPEC is not alone in influencing the variations in the oil price, the ICE and NYMEX markets where the barrels of crude oil are quoted equally play a role in determining the price of oil.  


The list of oil exporting countries:

Let us now look at a list of oil exporting countries and the members of OPEC. We have chosen to classify them by continent:

  • In Africa can be found Algeria, Angola, Libya and Nigeria.
  • In the Middle East the major oil exporting countries are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Qatar.
  • In South America we find Ecuador and Venezuela.

Oil exporting countries that are not part of the OPEC group include Canada, Sudan, Mexico, the UK, Norway, the USA, Russia and Oman.

Note that certain countries that were originally on this list of oil exporting countries have been removed. This is the case for Indonesia where the volume of oil imports rose above the oil export amount in 2008, as well as Gabon which was a member of OPEC from 1975 to 1996.


Why learn about the oil exporting countries?

It is important to know the list of the oil exporting countries to succeed in anticipating the movements in the oil price on the petroleum market. In fact, the geopolitical situation of these countries has a strong influence on the price of black gold.

It is therefore important to follow the news and events of these countries to be able to anticipate a rise or fall in the oil price.


What influence do oil exporting countries have on the price of oil?

The oil exporting countries, and more specifically OPEC and OPEC+, influence the price of crude oil through the coordinated efforts of its members, notably through a system of production quotas.

These countries agree on the amount of oil exported, which will have a direct influence on supply and therefore on the market. But it is also important to understand that the decisions of these countries are also influenced by the evolution of the value of the dollar against other currencies.

The aim of OPEC and the oil producing countries in general is of course above all to increase the price of oil or to avoid its collapse in order to allow these countries to maintain a certain profitability. It is thanks to the will of Saudi Arabia, which sometimes agrees to lower its production while the other countries maintain or exceed their quotas, that oil prices have been maintained for several years. Thus, most oil-producing countries produce at maximum capacity, while Saudi Arabia is the only one with spare capacity and the ability to regulate its production upwards.

During the 1970s, this system worked particularly well and brought the price of crude oil to levels that had only been reached by refined products. There are exceptions to this rule, however, as during the 1980s the price of oil collapsed and OPEC was unable to control it for several years.

It should also be noted that oil producing countries are not the only ones to play a role in determining the price of oil and in particular the ICE which is the London futures market and the NYMEX which is the New York futures market. To counter the growing impact of the markets, Iran opened its International Iranian Oil Exchange in 2008, where oil derivatives are traded not in dollars but in other currencies.

It is also interesting to note that since 1976, OPEC has been funding the OPEC Fund for International Development, which is a development bank based in Vienna.