Energy Players

Player Roles

The major players in energy issues are;

  • TNC’s
  • OPEC

What does OPEC stand for?

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent intergovernmental organisation of 13 oil-exporting developing nations.

What is the aim of the organisation?

  • Protect the interests of member countries
  • Stabilise oil prices and limit price fluctuations
  • Ensure efficient, economic and regular supply of oil to consuming nations


Algeria - 1969-present

Angola - 2007-present

Ecuador - 1973-1992, 2007-present

Gabon - 1975-1995; 2016-present

Iran - 1960-present

Iraq - 1960-present

Kuwait - 1960-present

Libya - 1962-present

Nigeria - 1971-present

Qatar - 1961-present

Saudi Arabia - 1960-present

United Arab Emirates - 1967-present

Venezuela - 1960-present


Environmentalists/pressure groups


These players all have an impact in influencing energy sources and pathways. Geopolitical issues are complex and may involve a number of these players.

Energy Players, figure 1

Securing Energy Supplies

OPEC has around 78% of the worlds oil reserves meaning it holds a monopoly on oil and has a secure supply of energy in the near future.

The rise of renewable energy is increasing which can bring security to energy such as the geo-thermal heating used in Iceland.

Relative Importance of Players

What are the OPEC countries?

The Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela were the Founder Members of the Organization. These countries were later joined by Qatar (1961), Libya (1962), the United Arab Emirates (1967), Algeria (1969), Nigeria (1971), Ecuador (1973), Gabon (1975), Angola (2007) and Equatorial Guinea (2017). Indonesia was member but has left the organisation.

Why is OPEC such a powerful player?

  • It has around 78% of the world’s oil reserves
  • It produces around 45% of the world’s crude oil and 15% of natural gas
  • It has the power to significantly affect oil prices by increasing or decreasing production


OPEC’s influence is seen as less significant as some oil producers have not joined the organisation e.g. Russia, Norway, Mexico and the USA

TNCs control most oil and gas extraction, refining and distribution.

These large companies are extremely powerful and have major influence on political decisions e.g. links between US presidents and support of oil companies.

Many of the oil/gas companies are state owned or controlled, with access to 95% of world oil and gas reserves. This may influence who they trade with and political decisions.

Energy Players, figure 1

Energy Players, figure 2