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19 Jun 2022

OPEC’s history book launched in Al-Shaab Hall, Baghdad

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Ministry of Oil of Iraq have launched a history book titled ‘OPEC 60 years and beyond: A story of courage, cooperation and commitment’ in Baghdad.

The launch took place in the Al-Shaab Hall in the Bab Al-Muaatham district of the Iraqi capital – the site of the Organization’s founding in September 1960. It was attended by several Iraqi Ministers, as well as senior officials from the Ministries of Oil and Culture.

The celebration’s agenda included various cultural activities, such as traditional music from OPEC Member Countries including Iraq. The programme also featured a show of traditional Iraqi costumes, which was presented by the Iraqi Al Aziaa House in Baghdad.

The publication was prepared by the OPEC Secretariat to commemorate the Organization’s 60th Anniversary. It aims to bring to a wider readership OPEC’s history, its objectives and achievements over its first six decades.

The book is divided into two sections: ‘Analyzing the 60 Years’ and ‘Cross Cutting Issues’. The first section conducts a thorough review of OPEC’s history, including key events that predated its establishment, while the second part explores important topics for the Organization’s mission and work, such as international dialogue and sustainable development.

At the launch, HE Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismaael, Iraq’s Minister of Oil and Head of its Delegation to OPEC, said: “It is a great privilege to launch the special book commissioned for the 60th Anniversary of OPEC’s founding. For Iraq, and the city of Baghdad in particular, we are delighted to be the site of the launch of this book.”

Minister Ismaael in his remarks recalled the founding of OPEC in September 1960 in Baghdad, highlighting that the Organization came into existence as a result of the vision of its Founder Members.

“The fact that our country is the birthplace of OPEC is an enormous source of pride for all Iraqis. We are proud of our role as a Founder Member; as a constructive force throughout the Organization’s history; a consensus forger and bridge builder,” the Minister stated, adding, “We are pleased that the Iraqi Government has sponsored this book and hope it will be a useful reference tool for future generations who seek to acquaint themselves better with our Organization.”

Referencing the publication, Minister Ismaael highlighted that “this book represents a singular accomplishment. It is meticulously researched, compellingly written and showcases the multitude of accomplishments that our Organization has achieved throughout its history.”

OPEC Secretary General, HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, also delivered brief remarks at the launch, in which he lauded the Organization for its many achievements over the last six decades.

“As an Organization we have come a long way, we have witnessed many ups and downs, we have seen seven major market cycles, including the latest in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have evolved as an integral part of the international energy community and we have seen reams of column inches written about OPEC,” Barkindo noted.

The Secretary General added: “It is important to stress that in terms of OPEC’s history, the Organization is far more than just an appendage to the history of oil. It is a story of a family of nations, of people and populations, of feelings and emotions of countries rich in culture and heritage, and of the struggle of a group of developing countries to exercise the inalienable right of all countries to exercise permanent sovereignty over their natural resources in the interest of their national development.

“The history of OPEC underscores the adversities the Organization has faced, the challenges overcome, the achievements made, and the value placed on dialogue and cooperation with other industry stakeholders, including both producers and consumers.”

The Secretary General also thanked all those that were involved in producing the publication, both at the OPEC Secretariat in Vienna and in Iraq.

“We could not have done this without Iraq’s help. Your generous commitment to this project, your support for the anniversary celebration and your continued backing for OPEC, deserve a round of applause,” Barkindo added.

The Secretary General underscored that “surviving 60 years is a monumental achievement in and of itself for such an organization, but especially so for one representing one of the most volatile commodities – oil.”

At the launch, the Minister and the Secretary General both signed a copy of the book, announcing its launch.

The Organization was founded in Iraq on 10-14 September 1960 at the First Meeting of the OPEC Conference, which is widely known as the ‘Baghdad Conference’. In attendance were OPEC Founder Members: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Today, the Organization has 13 Member Countries.

The launch took place on the sidelines of the sixth edition of Iraq Energy Forum.