Founded to allow oil producing countries to have more control over the price of oil, and thereby state revenues, OPEC has grown into an institution that controls two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves and generates roughly half of the world’s oil exports. The creation of OPEC was a major blow to the control of the global oil market by the Western giants like Exxon and British Petroleum. While OPEC does include non-Middle Eastern countries such as Venezuela, Indonesia and Nigeria, it is heavily dominated by countries from that region. As a result, OPEC has intervened in the political crises there. Most famously, OPEC refused oil exports to Western countries supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur (or October) War. This resulted in a 400% increase in oil prices and required rationing in the West.
Time: Mid War
Removed after event: No
OPEC is a bit like an extra Middle East scoring card, except only for you. It is up to you how many countries you need in order to trigger OPEC: I have done it for 1 VP, but usually I probably wouldn’t usually trigger it once it is 2 or fewer VPs. Normally this ends up being around 4-5 VPs; I often hold onto it to see if I can extract some extra value out of it.
OPEC really is like an extra Middle East scoring card, but unlike a Middle East scoring card, it has 3 Ops and therefore can be spaced. And indeed, I usually do space it, since it is a rare game indeed where this isn’t scoring 3+ VPs.
Alternatively, you can also use the 3 Ops to try to break control of a USSR country to lower OPEC’s effect. This is like a Special Relationship null play, but carries the disadvantage that you’re probably still giving up some VPs.
On Turn 6, this is one of those cards that I make sure to try to hold past the Turn 7 reshuffle before discarding, since this is particularly bad time to be handing the USSR an extra 4-5 VPs.
Incidentally, any time you see the USSR play into Gulf States, you should be on alert that OPEC is coming.