TOPIC A Foreign Energy Independence
TOPIC B Domestic Pressures of Oil Production
DELEGATION SIZE Double
- Emily Young
- Michael Wang
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is constituted by the largest oil and gas producing nations in the world. Collectively, they can shape the global economy through control over the most relied upon energy resource, and as an oil collective can use that control to maximize profits and political leverage in a disproportionate manner. This OPEC body will take place in the context of the year 1978, in the aftershocks of the oil embargo and as the world was rapidly changing its relationship to the oil produced by OPEC nations as they found new sources of oil and other energies to rely upon.
Topic A: Foreign Energy Independence
In a world still in the tug of war of the Cold War, where the United States of America and the Soviet Union jockey for dominance over the Middle East and Latin America, OPEC member states can remain independent through their collective political and economic power over the energy sources that the USA and USSR have historically relied upon. In 1978, oil continues to be the lifeblood of the modern economy, but both the West and the Soviet Union seek energy independence through a combination of alternative energy, domestic crude oil production, and military intervention in oil-producing nations. As shown by the successful embargo in 1973, OPEC holds enough sway to force even superpowers to accede to is demands. But, when one superpower or the other achieves total energy independence, will OPEC cease to hold international power? As delegates must decide how to leverage OPEC’s current economic and political power to in order maintain international influence for decades to come.
Topic B: Domestic Pressures of Oil Production
Oil production is dirty. Both environmental and economic issues continue to plague the individual nations of OPEC. Energy poverty, low wages, prohibition of unionization and dangerous working conditions threaten the continuing productivity of workers as many of the current environmental standards can and do lead to disastrous and public environmental catastrophes. In every OPEC nation, protests against foreign oil companies and corruption by governments can lead to popular revolts against autocratic regimes. As delegates work as ministers tasked by their nations to regulate oil trade, it is essential that a uniform set of reforms be adopted to prevent the continuation of such domestic pressures which pose risks to the success of OPEC oil industry. If unaddressed, such issues can spin into nationwide strikes, insurrection and even regime change. For the leaders of each delegate’s respective countries, these outcomes are unacceptable.