Sep 14th 2010 | From The Economist online
OPEC, the cartel of oil producers, celebrates its 50th anniversary on September 14th. The organisation was founded in 1960 with the explicit purpose of manipulating oil prices by controlling supplies. It has generally proved successful. OPEC controls around 80% of the world’s proven reserves and over 40% of the world’s production among its 12 member states. The Gulf states that dominate OPEC have the biggest reserves and lowest costs, so can most easily turn the taps on and off when required to keep prices high.