OPEC was formed in 1960 by founding members Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. For a brief period, the petroleum cartel became the dominant force behind world oil prices and a key geopolitical power broker, with its members controlling nearly half of world oil production and more than three-quarters of global oil reserves. As U.S. oil production entered a period of apparently inexorable decline after its 1970 peak, Washington’s desire to shore-up energy security and create a bulwark against communist expansion into the Middle East saw Saudi Arabia become a key U.S. ally. OPEC at the height of its power, in the 1970s, flexed its muscles by cutting oil output causing prices to spiral upward triggering two oil price shocks that sparked global recessions. Since then, OPEC’s power has steadily deteriorated, with that decline accelerating over the last two decades because of rapidly growing non-OPEC oil production, notably […]