What is Going on With OPEC??

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March 18, 2020

There have been many changes
recently, but one of the changes on the forefront of my mind has been “what is
going on with OPEC”?  It feels like a
major shift has happened with The Organization
of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (“OPEC”).

Background

By way of a short reminder, OPEC has been around since 1960 – in fact, this year marks the 60th
year since its founding.  Its mission is:

“to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its Member
Countries and to ensure the stabilization of oil markets in order to secure an
efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady
income to producers and a fair return on capital for those investing in the
petroleum industry.”

There are 13 member countries
including Saudi Arabia. 

Current Status

According to the Investopedia article entitled, OPEC vs the U.S.: Who Controls Oil Prices, “OPEC controls oil prices through its pricing-over-volume
strategy.” 

Now, there is a big question mark behind that sentence.  OPEC allegedly controls oil prices, but we all know that many other factors impact the equation as well, including global politics, supply and demand and technology. 

Stability has historically been the primary goal of OPEC, but
recent events have turned oil prices and supply on their heads.  The recent headlines indicate that a shift
has happened in OPEC:

What does this mean for OPEC? 
Has OPEC lost its grip and with it, its purpose and utility?  Only time will tell.