OPEC as a Southern Bargaining Organization: The Case of International Oil Politics

Goke Lalude


The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was put in place principally to serve as a bargaining power of the South. The historical antecedence of OPEC indicates an Organization that was necessary because of the exploitation of the Northern developed countries through their oil companies. In essence, OPEC came to put a stop to what was considered as those tendencies by the Northern developed countries at ensuring that those years of colonialism and slavery which put the South at a disadvantage continued with oil. One interesting thing about international oil politics is that developing nations that were at a disadvantage in the structuring of international relations and in particular international economic system of the globe were appreciably at an advantage in oil politics. This is because reserves as well as production of oil benefit the Southern developing nations while the North with a large appetite in consumption is appreciably at a disadvantage. One would have expected therefore that in this particular area where the South was at an advantage it would automatically be in control, a situation that was unfortunately not so before OPEC came into being. In variably, OPEC would have ordinarily been expected to serve the interest of the South by coordinating Southern interests in oil and ensuring that the North is put in its normal place as far as issues relating to oil are concerned. This work therefore is aimed at relating OPEC’s formative years to its performance after coming into existence. It is meant to confirm and affirm whether or not OPEC has been able to meet up to its expectation of a Southern bargaining organization which it was meant to be at inception. The work employs an analytical methodology in which it relates those basic elements that necessitated an OPEC with those different areas in which it has performed with a view to determining whether or not the organization had lived up to expectation. The work finds out that certain internal crisis within OPEC have made it impossible for the organization to live up to expectation. It concludes that until OPEC moves away from viewing issues from Arab-non-Arab perspective it will not be able to serve its purpose effectively as a Southern bargaining organization.

Keywords: OPEC, oil companies, dependency, exploitative tendency and bargaining power.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5731 ISSN (Online)2225-0972

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