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What drives OPEC production policy?

Roeben, Volker

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The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is the international organisation with the function of coordinating and unifying the petroleum policies of its member countries. It centrally controls much of the world’s oil supply. While this is generally accepted, it is not well understood how OPEC exercises this broad function, what drives its decision-making. The article closes this gap in the literature through a close study of the published OPEC production policies for the period of 2019 to 2022. The article finds that internally predicted demand was the primary driver, over external factors that could also have affected production decisions, such as sanctions on OPEC or OPEC+ members, the rise of US shale oil, or climate change mitigation. It follows that consumer states can most effectively influence OPEC petroleum production decision-making by reducing their own oil consumption. The article finally places these findings into a broader context of the law of international organisations, where organisations have a responsibility to exercise their functions within evolving international law. Their decision-making can then be assessed through the three vector-matrix that this article proposes, comprising internal drivers, external factors, and the position of third states.


Roeben, V. (2024). What drives OPEC production policy?. Journal of World Energy Law & Business, 17(1), 19-34.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 30, 2023
Online Publication Date Dec 25, 2023
Publication Date 2024-02
Deposit Date Dec 1, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 3, 2024
Journal Journal of World Energy Law & Business
Print ISSN 1754-9957
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 1
Pages 19-34
Public URL


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