In September 1960 in Baghdad, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is created, comprising Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Kuwait. They will be joined later by Qatar, Libya, Abu Dhabi, Ecuador, Nigeria, Indonesia and Gabon. It was to unify the petroleum policies of member countries to ensure they stabilized prices and a steady income. In practice, this meant struggle against the companies. In the early 70 years, the minimum rate of royalties is set at 55%. Crude prices are increased and revised according to international inflation. This price offensive is accompanied by actions aimed at increased control of their country on production: in February 71, President Boumediene decided unilaterally that Algeria is the majority shareholder in French companies are operating in its territory and transforms pipelines and natural gas deposits in State property. Similar measures were taken in Iraq and Libya while elsewhere contracts are renegotiated.
Price of a barrel of crude oil reduced in 2000 dollars. Click to enlarge
In October 73, the Yom Kippur War rages on. Six countries in the Persian Gulf decide on a 70% increase in the price of crude. Then they (without Iran but with the other Arab oil-exporting countries) decide on a 5% drop in production every month "as long as the international community has not forced Israel to evacuate the territories occupied in 1967 ". Finally, they proclaim the embargo towards the United States, protectors of the Hebrew state, then extend the measure to the Netherlands, Portugal, Rhodesia and South Africa. In two months, the price of a quadruple barrel (from $ 3 to $ 11,65).
Thus the war 73 can permanently reverse the balance of power between exporting countries and large companies. But above all, this economic crisis reveals the latent economic crisis and the urgency of the energy debate.
Yet the United States, the main target of the embargo, are only slightly affected. Indeed, the exporting countries can not always control the destination of tankers leaving their shores and then 1973, 5 only to 6% of the oil was imported from the Gulf. For cons, the US enjoy what Europe and Japan, not having their own fields, are hard hit because of declining competitiveness.
After the second crisis 1979-80, OPEC will gradually lose its influence. Alternative energy (the "all-nuclear" in France), the exploitation of new deposits (the North Sea, Africa ...) and individualism producing countries will weaken.
From 1975, the USSR seeks to increase its influence in the countries concerned by the large arteries of oil transport (East Africa, South Yemen, Afghanistan), probably in anticipation of future conflicts. But with the collapse of the Eastern bloc and the end of the Cold War in the late 80 years, ended this strategy. This failure and the fall in production in Russia is probably the cause of the fury that makes this country to maintain its sovereignty in Chechnya.
Since 1990-91, the United States are to have hegemony. "Should we be surprised that, in these circumstances, the hyperpower be tempted to impose to the world his vision of an international order which coincides -in the name of morality and law- with its own interests? ". In 90-91, she managed to gather around it a coalition, with the UN's blessing. In 2003, she is past.