The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is an organization created to regulate world-wide oil prices and is the major source of revenue for many countries in the Middle East. The organization was created on September 10-14, 1960 at a conference in Baghdad. There were originally five country members consisting of Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.  Today OPEC has grown to 11 countries, 9 of whom are Middle Eastern. The purpose of OPEC is to unify the oil policies of the member countries and regulate the prices and quantities of oil produced. In the early 80's, OPEC began setting quotas on each member nation, stating what quantity of oil they should be producing. Also, OPEC financially assists developing nations by their OPEC Fund for International Development created in 1976. In all, OPEC oil accounts for 40% of the nations oil supply and 77% of the world's oil reserves. The organization regulates oil production by splitting the oil reserves into seven crudes. With this done, they can take averages of each crude and decipher the prices of the oil per barrel produced. OPEC is very important for the Middle East, and without this economic powerhouse, the Middle East would be struggling economically to compete with other nations throughout the world.

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