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The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries: a study of its organisation, policies and legal significance

Sedra, Ali Abu


Ali Abu Sedra


D. A. C. (David A. C.) Freestone


[Summary]: This thesis provides a comprehensive study of OPEC. It seeks to ascertain and analyse the international legal status of OPEC and its characteristics, to examine how OPEC functions and what its stated aims and objectives are, to evaluate the performance of OPEC in the context of these objectives, and to suggest improvements for the future.

OPEC was originally established in 1960 by a group of developing oil-producing countries as an institutional response to the need which they all felt to assert their independence and ensure their economic survival. In this context Part One examines and analyses the general pre-history and overall background of OPEC from a variety of different perspectives including but not limited to such relevant areas as international conflicts over the distribution of wealth and power between producers and consumers in particular, and between the developing and developed countries in general.

Part Two considers the constitutional legal foundations of OPEC which are to be found in the original OPEC Resolution of 1960 and in its subsequent OPEC Statute (as amended) which defines the Organisation's aims and objectives, its internal structure, its decision-making processes, its financial resources and its dispute settlement procedures. Part Three of the thesis enlarges on this initial survey by examining OPEC's structure, composition, organs and membership in greater detail.

Part Four considers OPEC's international legal status and its standing vis-a vis the larger international community and other international organisations. Part Four also considers OPEC in the context of the internationally recognised principle of a state's right to exercise permanent sovereignty over its natural resources, and therefore of the OPEC Members' rights to organise the production, marketing and pricing of their oil resources. Part Four also explores the proposition that although OPEC may not have been founded with the express contemplation of such international legal and economic milestones as the Havana Charter and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in mind, it has in fact proved to be quite consistent with International Commodity Agreements (ICAs) in more than one respect, while at the same time displaying characteristics which are uniquely different from a typical ICA.

Bearing the above in mind, Parts Five and Six seek to examine OPEC's track record since its inception thirty-eight years ago. Part Five examines the decision-making processes and financial contributions in OPEC, while Part Six then focuses on OPEC's actual policies and resulting activities - and their legal significance.

Finally, Part Seven is concerned with a general evaluation of the main features and relative failures and successes of OPEC up to now, as well as with a conclusion as to its future role, including - in order to enhance that role - recommendations as to how OPEC's practices and policy could perhaps be improved in the years to come.

(N.B.: A more comprehensive summary appears in the Abstract on pages xi - xiv. )


Sedra, A. A. (1998). The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries: a study of its organisation, policies and legal significance. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Oct 16, 2012
Publicly Available Date Feb 22, 2023
Keywords Law; Law enforcement; Prisons; International trade; Management
Public URL
Additional Information Law School, The University of Hull
Award Date Aug 1, 1998


Thesis (48.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 1998 Sedra, Ali Abu. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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