The OPEC (short for Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) was founded in 1960 in Baghdad, by Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Kuwait. Currently, OPEC has 12 member countries. The goal of OPEC is to secure steady incomes to the member countries and to influence world oil prices through economic collaboration.
Any country that exports crude oil substantially can become a member of OPEC, after its candidature is accepted by at least three fourths of the current members. There is also a provision for associate members, who may not qualify for full time membership, but can be accepted under special conditions.
Oil reserves of the OPEC countries
It is estimated that 81 percent of the oil reserves are in OPEC member countries. Here too, the biggest share is in the Middle East; about 66 percent of the OPEC share. OPEC member countries have added significantly to their reserves of oil, through the adoption of industry best practices, enhancing recoveries and realizations in intensive explorations. OPEC oil reserves currently stand at 1200 billion barrels of oil.
The highest oil reserves in the OPEC are currently with Venezuela. Saudi Arabia is second, Iran is third. Next in order are Kuwait, UAE, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Algeria, Angola and Ecuador.