Authors: Robert Mabro,

OPEC & the World Oil Market

The history of OPEC’s attempts to regulate prices in the world petroleum market has involved notable successes and several crises. Much has been written on the oil price explosions of 1973 and 1979-80, but the sequence of crises which began in 1974 and culminated with the oil price collapse of 1986 has not received the same attention.

An analysis of the nature of these crises and of the causes and circumstances of their occurrence is however crucial to the understanding of oil price movements and of the complex relationships between the actions and policies of OPEC and the behaviour of the oil market.

This book sheds light on these important issues. It brings together papers presented at the Oxford Energy Seminar and other contributions by the Seminar’s panel of speakers which addressed as early as 1975 and at the time of every subsequent crisis (1978, 1982-3 and 1985) the question of OPEC’s behaviour during an oil glut.

These papers deal with issues of oil supply policies. They include the important statement by Sheik Yamani at the Seminar in September 1985 which explains the role played by Saudi Arabia in the oil market during the crisis of 1986.


  1. Can OPEC Hold the Line?
  2. OPEC after the Oil Revolution
  3. The Marker and the Market, the Heavy and the Light
  4. The Nature of the Energy Problem
  5. OPEC’s Future Pricing Role may be at Stake
  6. Statement of Saudi Policy
  7. The Changing Nature of the Oil Market and OPEC’s Policies
  8. Oil Prices in 1983: a Critical Year
  9. OPEC in a Longer-Term Perspective
  10. Oil Market Stability: Time for Action?
  11. The Role of OPEC in Market Stabilization
  12. Market Stability and Market Security
  13. Energy Trade : Problems and Prospects
  14. Debate at the Oxford Energy Seminar: Final Panel Speakers
  15. The Economic Development of the Oil-Exporting Countries
  16. The Need for an OPEC Central Trading Agency
  17. Options for OPEC Long-Term Pricing Strategies