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Introduction
I
need to know: An Introduction to the Oil Industry and
OPEC
tells the story of oil. It tells how crude oil—or, using its
more technical term, petroleum—was discovered, how it is explored
and taken from the ground and made into other products. Over the
last 150 years, oil has had many benefits and applications in our world—
in industries, in medicine, at home and in transportation. It has shaped
our world in many important ways.
Although talking about oil and its production may sound complicated,
this book is meant to simplify it. It is a book that both young people
and adults can enjoy. It has been written so that novices can learn
something about the origins of oil and the basics of the oil industry.
Thus, the language used has been kept as non-technical as possible and
the illustrations help to break down the complex nature of the topic.
While this book is conceived as a history of oil, the reader will also
be able to learn about the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC), which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2010.
There is no doubt that turning fifty years old is a milestone. When
OPEC was founded, few could have predicted that it would have
lasted as long as it has. More than that, it has since developed into an
important global actor. In fact, the slogan for OPEC’s Golden Jubilee
year—“supporting stability, fuelling prosperity”—captures the essence
of OPEC’s activities over the last fifty years, and reflects the work it has
done in contributing to global economic growth.
The book tries to raise awareness of the Organization’s important role
in ensuring a regular and adequate supply of oil to the global markets.
It also provides a summary of the founding of the Organization in
1960, explains its membership and structure, and considers some of
the frequently asked questions that people have about OPEC.
As OPEC’s Secretary General, Abdalla S. El-Badri, has noted in the
past, “OPEC is the oldest surviving inter-governmental organization
composed wholly of developing countries.” This is an admirable
achievement, especially considering that it has survived a lot of
challenges in the past.
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