Historical events

OPEC chiefs have stood the test of major historical events

Successive personalities have held the position of Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), an organization of 13 countries which has experienced major historical events on the world stage.

Over the years, the organization has handled these events with a wisdom that has enabled it to endure and achieve its goals in unifying and developing oil policies and stabilizing oil markets globally.

Some of the biggest and most dangerous challenges that OPEC has faced include the Carlos the Jackal incident in the mid-1970s, the oil well crisis in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion in the early 1990s , as well as the September 11 attacks at the start of the new millennium.

Finally, the organization had to deal with the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.

The organization was exposed to a significant crisis in 1975 when its headquarters was attacked by Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, also known as Carlos the Jackal. It was one of the strangest and most surprising operations.

At the time, OPEC was led by the Nigerian Meshach Otokiti Feyide. The crisis was handled professionally so that the markets were not affected by this attack. Indeed, the organization managed to move on after overcoming the problem.

During the time of Indonesian Secretary General Subroto, OPEC suffered a major crisis when Kuwait – one of the largest producing countries – saw its oil wells destroyed during the war launched by the regime of the former president Iraqi Saddam Hussein at the end of February 1991.

It is estimated that the Iraqi dictator blew up around 1,073 Kuwaiti oil wells.

The organization has played a major role in pumping more oil to achieve international sufficiency and maintain market stability. Once again, OPEC has been able to resist and succeed in the face of challenges.

The next critical moment came when the United States fell victim to a terrorist attack in September 2001.

At that time, global markets were in a frightening decline, including oil. It even shook the organization during the reign of General Secretary Alvaro Silva Calderon, exposing it to a real crisis.

As a result, OPEC was forced to temporarily cut production due to lower demand.

Finally, the start of 2020 was marked by historic developments in the oil markets. They have been exposed, alongside the whole world, to an unprecedented crisis caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, OPEC was able to once again restore the health of the markets.