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OPEC Chiefs Withstood the Test of Major Historical Events

OPEC Chiefs Withstood the Test of Major Historical Events

Saturday, 22 January, 2022 - 07:45
Abdul Rahman al-Bazzaz, Subroto, Asharq Al-Awsat

Successive personalities have occupied the position of Secretary-General at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a 13-country organization that underwent major pivotal historical events in the global arena.


Over the years, the organization dealt with these events with wisdom that allowed it to endure and achieve goals in unifying and developing oil policies and stabilizing oil markets globally.


Some of the biggest and most dangerous challenges that faced OPEC include the Carlos the Jackal incident in the mid-70s, the oil wells crisis in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion in the early 90s, as well as the September 11 attacks at the beginning of the new millennium.


Lastly, the organization had to face the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.


The organization was exposed to a significant crisis in 1975 when its headquarters were raided by Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, also known as Carlos the Jackal. This was one of the strangest and most surprising operations.


At the time, OPEC was headed by Nigeria’s Meshach Otokiti Feyide. The crisis was dealt with professionally so that the markets would not be affected by this attack. Indeed, the organization succeeded in continuing its path after overcoming the problem.


During the era of the Indonesian Secretary-General Subroto, OPEC witnessed a major crisis when Kuwait - one of the largest producing countries – had its oil wells destroyed during the war launched by the regime of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in late February 1991.


It is estimated that the Iraqi dictator had blown up approximately 1,073 Kuwaiti oil wells.


The organization had a major role in pumping more oil to achieve international sufficiency and maintain market stability. Once again, OPEC was able to withstand and succeed in the face of challenges.


The next critical juncture came when the US fell victim to a terrorist attack in September 2001.


At that time, global markets witnessed a frightening decline, including oil. It even shook the organization during the reign of Secretary-General Alvaro Silva Calderon, exposing it to a real crisis.


As a result, OPEC was forced to temporarily reduce production due to the decline in demand.


Finally, the beginning of 2020 witnessed historical developments at the level of oil markets. They were exposed, alongside the entire world, to an unprecedented crisis caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.


However, OPEC was able to restore the health of the markets once again.


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