Association of Oil Producing Nations
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• Treaty signed
• In effect
The Association of Oil Producing Nations, commonly referred to by its acronym AOPN, is an intergovernmental organization of 5 nations, founded in 1979, and headquartered in Ascalzar, Ascalzar. The AOPN was founded to coordinate petroleum policies of the member-states. The current members are: Fahran, Ghant, Keuland, Mutul, and Sydalon.
In 1972, a faction led by the Ghantish Navy and Prince Alexander of Ghant became a leading court faction in Ghant. This faction asserted the claim of John, Prince of Petra for the throne of Sydalon. In order to assert his legitimacy and gain a power-base, John became the figurehead of the Sydalene groups fighting against the ongoing peace process with Yisrael.
During the following year, John gained the additional support of Gelonia and Sudmark, following by statements of support from various monarchs of Gariman states – however King Frederick V of Garima refused to publicly declare for any side. Meanwhile a number of catholic states declared support for Queen Elissa IV of Sydalon, such as Garza and Latium. Concerned for the ongoing peace negotiations between Sydalon and Yisrael, Latium and other Belisarian nations condemned this action. In retaliation, Ghant ceased shipping oil and other petrochemical products to these nations in an attempt to coerce them into backing off of their support of Queen Elissa IV. Ghant sought to recruit other oil producing nations to join, of which Mutul joined.
Following the arrest of John and the signature of the Yarden Accords in 1973, the crisis ended on a clear victory for the Queen and the pro-peace faction. The Mutul-Ghant "axis" nonetheless led to an important rise in oil prices, among other economic consequences. Thus, even if it had been a political failure, the axis remained as an unofficial oil cartel, the two countries' government remaining in close contact to discuss shared economic policies when it came to the petrochemical industry.
Both Ghant and the Mutul continued to seek potential partners to reinforce their joint oil politics. Both approached King Jordan IX of Sydalon, who pursued policy of reinforcing its country's influence over the oil market similar to that of their cartel, in the hope of striking a series of deals with the Sydalene government. Following a series of diplomatic gestures and some negotiations, the idea of an official intergovernmental organization capable of stabilizing the oil markets was brought out and agreed upon by all three countries. Thus, in 1979, the Association of Oil Producing Nations was officially born.
A new change of government in Ghant led to deterioration of the relations between the Empire and the Mutul, notably on the question of religious freedom and human rights. the Haribec Cabinet ended up presenting an ultimatum to the Divine Kingdom : either start reforming the Mutulese judiciary system in favour of human rights, abandoning practices such as The Question ("voluntary" death penalty), as well as separating religious identity from the civic nationality, or face the possibility of a full blocus on all Mutuleses products. This led observers to fear for the future of the AOPN.
This is when the Director of Ghant's National Oil Company, in disagreement with the Haribec Cabinet, openly spoke against the Ultimatum. Similarly, an open letter written by a group of industrial experts and figureheads of the petrochemical industries was published in Ghantish medias, presenting all the negatives impacts an "Embargo" on Mutuleses products would have on the country's economy and even geopolitical position.
Ultimately, after a second row of parliamentary debates, the Ultimatum went through and, unsurprisingly, the Mutul refused its term, leading to Ghant imposing heavy sanctions on the Divine Kingdom. But there had been changes to said sanctions. Notably, all restrictions on the petrochemical industry had been retracted from the final document. Similarily, neither Ghant nor the Mutul recalled their embassies, signalling that, diplomatically at least, neither the House of Gentry nor the Ilok'tab dynasty considered the blocus to impact their relations in the long run. Thus, the AOPN survived the "little crisis" between its masterminds, while discussions around the lift of the economic sanctions continue in the background.
2017-18 Sydalene Rebellion
The AOPN ended up playing a small yet important role in the Sydalene Revolution. It notably served as an unofficial de facto channel of communication between the State and the Kingdom of Sydalon, but also served as a way for some of its members, like the Mutul, to raise their concern on the question of oil production. An AOPN meeting at their headquarters in Ascalzar allowed the two sides of the civil war to find an agreement over the operation of the oil fields in the country. This allowed for Sydalon to barely reduce its production compared to its pre-war levels, mostly due to a shortage of competent and willing personnel at the height of the conflict. The exact nature of the negotiations that led to such an agreement to be signed have not been disclosed by the Association, but seems to have involved main members threatening to use economic tools against both factions if total Sydalene oil production did not reach its production quotas.
While the agreement calmed international markets, its exact influence on the war is not yet fully understood. It forced both side to de facto recognize each other and allowed the political entity in charge of an oil well to gain profits from it unimpeded. The former was a great diplomatic victory for the Republicans, and the second could potentially favor them in the long run. Yet some suppose that AOPN, now greatly involved and implanted in Sydalon after the signing of these agreements, played a role in the intelligence-gathering and backroom negotiations that allowed the swift victory of the Monarchists in the following months. Analysts of the organization and of the Sydalene civil war have concluded such theories often devolve into conspiracy theory.
The AOPN seek to regulate the production and the price of petrochemical products through the coordinated effort of its members, notably through a system of quotas. They operate as a cartel of producers, agreeing on the quantity of oil exported to influence the global market prices.
Transactions are done in Latin solidus. The fluctuation in the exchange rates between the Solidus and the national currencies of the producers has had consequences on the decision-making process of the AOPN governing body.
Unlike other cartels, the AOPN has been successful in its attempts to raise prices for long periods of time. Part of this success is due to the willingness of some of its members to reduce their productions when others go over their quota limits. Most AOPN member-states keep reserves as a way to better control the global oil price. This leniency has been a factor in the AOPN's attractiveness toward some of the less-developed oil-producing states.
Despite this, the Association has also been known to send signals to the markets by avoiding the creation of speculative bubbles and other economic disturbances. An informal slogan was coined - "Balance and Stability" - as it was resumed following the negotiations surrounding the Sydalene Civil War. Some observers have theorized that the AOPN possess a bigger influence on the petrochemical industry than often estimated because of this ability to plan on the long term economic horizon, re-assuring buyers and investors often convinced by the AOPN's self-proclaimed clout by its past shows of strength, such as its aforementioned perceived calming role in Sydalon.
However, the rise of commodity exchanges in Seredinia, an important oil-producer not part of the AOPN, and other countries, has led to the emergence of a counterweight to the AOPN. In reaction, the AOPN has pushed the Ghish International Petroleum Exchange as its main market for the exchange of crude oil, petroleum, gas, and other petrochemicals. The specificity of this commodity exchange arises in the fact that it does not use the Latin solidus. Instead, all exchanges are done primarily in the currencies of the member countries.
The Association also operates an "International Development Fund" based in Ascalzar with the objective to reinforce financial cooperation between member countries and other developing countries, by providing financial support to the latter for their socio-economic development. Being granted a loan from the Fund is generally considered to be the first step toward a future membership, as can be seen in the on-going candidacy of Charnea.
|Country||Region||Membership year||Population||Oil Production (bbl/days)||Proven Reserves (bbl)|
|Mutul||Oxidentale||1979||120 million||3.5 million||???|
the Association has significantly improved the quality and quantity of information available about the international oil market. This is especially helpful for a natural-resource industry whose smooth functioning requires months and years of careful planning. It regularly cooperate with other international organizations to improve the availability and reliability of oil data.
Since 2004, the AOPN has published an "Annual Bilan on the Oil Industry", in which it presents a comprehensive analysis of the global oil industry including medium- and long-term projections for supply and demand. It also produce annual statistics, various bulletins, and update regularly a vast collection of reports on the state of the oil industry worldwide.
Since 1985, the AOPN has developed its own Oil benchmark calculated as a weighted average of prices for petroleum blends from the AOPN members. It serves as a convenient reference price for buyers and sellers of crude oil.