Extended Essay

By: Nick Attfield

Date: -------

Word Count: -----

Research Question: What role did the OPEC Oil Embargo of 1973 play in US-Saudi relations in the following years 1974-1977?
The research question in this essay is “What role did the OPEC Oil Embargo of 1973 play in US-Saudi relations in the following years 1974-1977?” The OPEC Oil Embargo of 1973 was the Middle East’s response to the Yom Kippur War at the time. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was a coalition of the most prominent oil empires primarily in the Middle East at the time and other oil rich nations. This included the likes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Venezuela. According to the OPEC mandate on their website, the organization’s purpose is to “coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its Member Countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers” (OPEC). Essentially, the purpose behind the formation of the alliance between the OPEC nations is to delegitimize the “seven sisters”, which were the Western Oil giants which absolutely dominated the oil market from the 1940-1970’s. More significantly, they owned 85% of the world’s petroleum reserves, however, due to OPEC’s growing sphere of influence in the last few decades and the emergence of state-owned oil companies, their importance has significantly decreased (Hoyos). In the midst of the Yom Kippur War, the conflict between Egypt and Israel, OPEC announced to the world on the 17th of October 1973, that they would no longer export oil to countries that were in support of Israel. The United States, Western Europe and Japan’s economies took a massive knock. However, a more drastic turn of events took place when OPEC used their leverage on the oil market and raised the prices so high that the US had to rely on Iran for a source of oil which changed the balance of power in the Middle East....