OPEC was formed at the Baghdad conference in September 1960. The first members were Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia. The organization later included the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Algeria, Indonesia, Ecuador, Nigeria, Angola, Libya and Gabon. OPEC has a unique structure because its members are not companies but rather countries, and they are, therefore, not held to the same competition laws. As a result, OPEC was able to steeply raise global oil prices as a response to American aid to Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur war. During this time, the price of a barrel of oil rose from $3 to $12, which caused gas stations in the United States to ration out gasoline. During the 1980s, countries around the world took steps to lessen their dependence on oil by using nuclear power and coal. As a result, oil produced by OPEC dropped from 50 percent to 29 percent.
THE ORIGIN OF OPEC