Energy Information Administration

United States
Energy Information Administration

May 1998

World Oil Market and Oil Price Chronologies: 1970 - 1997

This chronology was orginally published by the Department of Energy's Office of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Analysis Division. Updates for 1995, 1996, and 1997 are from the Energy Information Administration. Please click here for a 1998 monthly chronology.

World Oil Price Chronology: 1970-1997

  1. OPEC begins to assert power; raises tax rate & posted prices
  2. OPEC begins nationalization process; raises prices in response to falling US dollar.
  3. Negotiations for gradual transfer of ownership of western assets in OPEC countries
  4. Oil embargo begins
  5. OPEC freezes posted prices; US begins mandatory oil allocation
  6. Oil embargo ends
  7. Saudis increase tax rates and royalties
  8. US crude oil entitlements program begins
  9. OPEC announces 15% revenue increase effective October 1, 1975
  10. Official Saudi Light price held constant for 1976
  11. Iranian oil production hits a 27-year low
  12. OPEC decides on 14.5% price increase for 1979
  13. Iranian revolution; Shah deposed
  14. OPEC raises prices 14.5% on April 1, 1979
  15. US phased price decontrol begins
  16. OPEC raises prices 15%
  17. Iran takes hostages; President Carter halts imports from Iran; Iran cancels US contracts; Non-OPEC output hits 17.0 million b/d
  18. Saudis raise marker crude price from 19$/bbl to 26$/bbl
  19. Windfall Profits Tax enacted
  20. Kuwait, Iran, and Libya production cuts drop OPEC oil production to 27 million b/d
  21. Saudi Light raised to $28/bbl
  22. Saudi Light raised to $34/bbl
  23. First major fighting in Iran-Iraq War
  24. President Reagan abolishes remaining price and allocation controls
  25. Spot prices dominate official OPEC prices
  26. US boycotts Libyan crude; OPEC plans 18 million b/d output
  27. Syria cuts off Iraqi pipeline
  28. Libya initiates discounts; Non-OPEC output reaches 20 million b/d; OPEC output drops to 15 million b/d
  29. OPEC cuts prices by $5/bbl and agrees to 17.5 million b/d output
  30. Norway, United Kingdom, and Nigeria cut prices
  31. OPEC accord cuts Saudi Light price to $28/bbl
  32. OPEC output falls to 13.7 million b/d
  33. Saudis link to spot price and begin to raise output
  34. OPEC output reaches 18 million b/d
  35. Wide use of netback pricing
  36. Wide use of fixed prices
  37. Wide use of formula pricing
  38. OPEC/Non-OPEC meeting failure
  39. OPEC production accord; Fulmar/Brent production outages in the North Sea
  40. Exxon's Valdez tanker spills 11 million gallons of crude oil
  41. OPEC raises production ceiling to 19.5 million b/d
  42. Iraq invades Kuwait
  43. Operation Desert Storm begins; 17.3 million barrels of SPR crude oil sales is awarded
  44. Persian Gulf war ends
  45. Dissolution of Soviet Union; Last Kuwaiti oil fire is extinguished on November 6, 1991
  46. UN sanctions threatened against Libya
  47. Saudi Arabia agrees to support OPEC price increase
  48. OPEC production reaches 25.3 million b/d, the highest in over a decade
  49. Kuwait boosts production by 560,000 b/d in defiance of OPEC quota
  50. Nigerian oil workers' strike
  51. Extremely cold weather in the US and Europe
  52. U.S. launches cruise missile attacks into southern Iraq following an Iraqi-supported invasion of Kurdish safe haven areas in northern Iraq.
  53. Iraq begins exporting oil under United Nations Security Council Resolution 986.
  54. Prices rise as Iraq's refusal to allow United Nations weapons inspectors into "sensitive" sites raises tensions in the oil-rich Middle East.
  55. OPEC raises its production ceiling by 2.5 million barrels per day to 27.5 million barrels per day. This is the first increase in 4 years.
  56. World oil supply increases by 2.25 million barrels per day in 1997, the largest annual increase since 1988.
Original concept for the chart was by the Analysis Division in the Office of Management Operations; Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Modified and updated in May 1998 by the Office of Energy Markets and End Use in the Energy Information Administration.

Click on the hotlinks below to go to the chronology for a specific year:

| 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 |


Jan 1
U.S. Federal oil depletion allowance reduced from 27.5 to 22.0 percent.
May 3
TAP line from Saudi Arabia to the Mediterranean interrupted in Syria, creating all-time tanker rate highs from June to December.
Sep 4 - Oct 9
Libya raises posted prices and increases tax rate from 50 percent to 55 percent. Iran and Kuwait follow in November.
Dec 9-12
OPEC meeting in Caracas establishes 55 percent as minimum tax rate and demands that posted prices be changed to reflect changes in foreign exchange rates.


Jan 12
Negotiations begin in Tehran between 6 Gulf producing countries and 22 oil companies.
Feb 3-4
OPEC mandates "total embargo" against any company that rejects the 55 percent tax rate.
Feb 14
Tehran agreement signed. Companies accept 55 percent tax rate, immediate increase in posted prices, and further successive increases.
Feb 24
Algeria nationalizes 51 percent of French oil concessions.
Apr 2
Libya concludes five weeks of negotiations with Western oil companies in Tripoli on behalf of itself, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Iraq. Agreement raises posted prices of oil delivered to Mediterranean from $2.55 to $3.45 per barrel; provides for a 2.5 percent annual price increase plus inflation allowance; raises tax rate from a range of 50-58 percent to 60 percent of posted price.
Jul 31
Venezuela's Hydrocarbons Reversion Law mandates gradual transfer to government ownership of all "unexploited concession areas" by 1974 and "all their residual assets" by 1983.
Aug 15
U.S. Government institutes Phase I price controls. Invoking the powers granted to the president by the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970, President Nixon orders 90-day nationwide freeze on all wages, prices, salaries and rents.
Sep 22
OPEC directs members to negotiate price increases to offset the devaluation of the U.S. dollar.
U.S. Phase II price controls begin. Plan is to allow for gradual 2-3 percent annual price increases, however, domestic petroleum prices remain at Phase I levels.
Dec 5
Libya nationalizes British Petroleum concession.


Jan 20
Six exporting countries - Abu Dhabi, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia - conclude ten days of meetings with Western oil companies. An agreement is reached to raise the posted price of crude by 8.49 percent to offset the loss in value of oil concessions attributable to the decline in value of the U.S. dollar.
Mar 11-12
OPEC threatens "appropriate sanctions" against companies that "fail to comply with . . . any action taken by a Member Country in accordance with [OPEC] decisions."
Jun 1
Iraq nationalizes Iraq Petroleum Company's (IPC) concession owned by British Petroleum, Royal Dutch-Shell, Compagnie Francaise des Petroles, Mobil and Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon). The concessions were valued at over one billion dollars.
Jun 9
In a show of support for Iraq, OPEC moves to prevent companies whose interests were nationalized in Iraq from increasing production elsewhere; appoints mediators between Iraq and IPC.
Sep 30
Libya acquires a 50 percent interest in two ENI concessions.
Oct 27
OPEC approves plan providing for 25 percent government ownership of all Western oil interests operating within Kuwait, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia beginning on January 1, 1973, and rising to 51 percent by January 1, 1983. (Iraq declines to agree.) Agreements signed on December 21.


Jan 11
U.S. Phase III price controls begin. Allows for voluntary instead of mandatory price control on all U.S. prices. This does not prevent a sharp rise in heating oil prices caused by a severe winter and shortage of product.
Jan 17
President Nixon suspends mandatory oil import quota on No. 2 heating oil through April 30.
Jan 23
Shah of Iran announces that the 1954 operating agreement between a consortium of oil companies and Iran will not be renewed when it expires in 1979. The consortium was formed in 1954 as a means to settle a dispute between a new ministry in Iran and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). The consortium included Standard Oil of New Jersey, Standard Oil of California, SOCONY-Vacuum, the Texas Company, Gulf, Royal Dutch-Shell, the Compagnie Francaise de Petroles, and the AIOC.
Feb 28
Iraq and IPC reach an agreement on compensation for nationalization.
Special Rule No. 1 reimposes mandatory (Phase II) price controls on the 23 largest oil companies. Smaller companies, representing 5 percent of the market, enjoy uncontrolled prices.
Mar 16
Shah of Iran and Consortium members agree to nationalize all assets immediately in return for an assured 20-year supply of Iranian oil.
Mar 16-17
OPEC discusses raising prices to offset decline of U.S. dollar value.
Apr 1
OPEC increases posted prices by 5.7 percent.
Apr 18
U.S. Government ends Mandatory Oil Import Program. Program, established in 1959 by President Eisenhower, had limited imports of crude and product east of the Rocky Mountains to a percentage of domestic crude production.
Jun 1
Eight OPEC countries raise posted prices by 11.9 percent.
Jun 11
Libya nationalizes Bunker Hunt concession; Nigeria acquires 35 percent participation in Shell-BP concession.
Jun 14
Nixon administration imposes 60-day economy-wide price freeze, superseding Special Rule No. 1 for oil companies.
Libya nationalizes 51 percent of Occidental Petroleum concession and of the Oasis consortium.
Aug 17
President Nixon's Cost of Living Council imposes two-tier price ceiling on crude petroleum sales: production of "old" oil (that produced at or below 1972 levels from existing wells) to be sold at March 1973 prices plus 35 cents; production of "new" oil (that produced above 1972 levels from existing wells and oil produced from new wells) to be sold at uncontrolled prices.
Sep 1
Libya nationalizes 51 percent of nine other companies' concessions: Esso, Libya/Sirte, Mobil, Shell, Gelensberg, Texaco, SoCal, Libyan-American (ARCO), and Grace.
Sep 5-9
Conference of less developed countries approves forming "producers' associations," calls for withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied Arab lands.
Sep 15-16
OPEC supports price hikes and designates six Gulf countries to negotiate collectively with companies over prices. Other members to negotiate individually.
Kuwait rejects gradual participation increase plan, insists on immediate 60 percent participation.
Oct 6
Beginning of fourth Arab-Israeli War.
Oct 7
Iraq nationalizes Exxon and Mobil shares in Basrah Petroleum Company representing 23.75 percent equity in the company.
Oct 8-10
OPEC meets with oil companies to discuss revision of 1971 Tehran agreement and oil prices. Negotiations fail.
Oct 16
The Gulf Six (Iran, Iraq, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar) unilaterally raise the posted price of Saudi Light marker crude 17 percent from $3.12 to $3.65 per barrel and announce production cuts.
Oct 17
OPEC oil ministers agree to use oil weapon in Arab-Israeli War, mandate cut in exports, and recommend embargo against unfriendly states.
Oct 19-20
Saudi Arabia, Libya, and other Arab states proclaim an embargo on oil exports to the United States.
Oct 23-28
Arab oil embargo extended to the Netherlands.
Nov 5
Arab producers announce 25 percent cut in production below September levels. Further cuts of five percent are threatened.
Nov 18
Arab oil ministers cancel the scheduled 5 percent cut in production for EEC.
Nov 23
Arab summit conference adopts open and secret resolutions on the use of the oil weapon. Embargo extended to Portugal, Rhodesia, and South Africa.
Nov 27
President Nixon signs the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act (EPAA). Authorizes petroleum price, production, allocation and marketing controls.
Dec 9
Arab oil ministers announce a further production cut of 5 percent for January for non-friendly countries.
Dec 22-24
OPEC Gulf Six decides to raise the posted price of marker crude from $5.12 to $11.65 per barrel effective January 1, 1974.
Dec 25
Arab oil ministers cancel January 5 percent production cut. Saudi Arabian oil minister promises 10 percent OPEC production rise.


Jan 7-9
OPEC decides to freeze posted prices until April 1.
Jan 29
Kuwait announces 60 percent government participation in BP-Gulf concession; Qatar follows on February 20.
Feb 11
Washington Energy Conference opens. Attended by 13 industrial and oil producing nations. Called by U.S. to resolve the international energy problems through economic cooperation among nations. Henry Kissinger unveils Nixon Administration's seven-point "Project Independence" plan to make the U.S. energy independent. Libya nationalizes three U.S. oil companies that had not agreed to 51 percent nationalization in September.
Feb 12-14
Heads of state of Algeria, Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia discuss oil strategy in view of the progress in Arab-Israeli disengagement.
Mar 17
Arab oil ministers announce the end of the embargo against the United States, all except Libya.
May 18
Nigeria announces 55 percent government participation in all concessions.
Jun 1-3
Arab oil ministers decide to end most restrictions on exports of oil to the United States but continue embargo against the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, and Rhodesia.
Jun 4
Saudi Arabia announces that it will increase its participation in Aramco to 60 percent. Abu Dhabi and Kuwait follow in September. Increases are retroactive to January 1.
Jun 13
IMF establishes its "oil facility," a special fund for loans to nations whose balance of payments have been severely affected by high oil prices.
Jul 10-11
OAPEC lifts the embargo against the Netherlands.
Sep 6Saudi Arabia increases its buy-back price from 93 percent to 94.9 percent of posted price.
Sep 13
OPEC instructs its Secretary General to "carry out a study of supply and demand in relation to possible production controls."
Saudi Arabians raise tax rate to 85 percent and royalty rate to 20 percent.
Nov 15
International Energy Agency formed in Paris within OECD framework. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates announce a slight reduction in posted prices and tax rates.
U.S. Crude Oil Entitlements Program enacted, retroactive to November 1974.
Dec 22
Iraq announces plans to increase its production capacity to 3.5 MMB/D by 1975 and to 6 MMB/D by 1981.


Jan 1
U.S. Federal oil depletion allowance eliminated for large producers.
Jan 13
Business Week publishes Kissinger interview hinting at military action against oil countries in case of "actual strangulation."
Apr 7-15
Preliminary meeting at Paris on world economic crisis between oil-exporting (Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela), oil-importing (European countries, U.S., Japan), and non-oil Third World countries (India, Brazil, Zaire). Talks collapse after nations fail to decide whether agenda should focus on oil/energy issues or have a broader economic scope.
Apr 9
Twenty-four OECD members sign an agreement to establish a $25 billion lending facility to provide assistance to industrial nations hurt by high oil prices.
Jun 13
World Bank establishes its "Third Window," a fund to make loans to countries too rich to qualify for "soft" no-interest loans, but too distressed to afford loans at the prevailing normal lending rates. Action represents significant cooperation between oil-exporting and industrial nations.
Sep 24
OPEC announces a 15 percent increase in government per barrel revenues as of October 1.
Oct 28
Venezuela and foreign oil companies agree on nationalization as of January 1, 1976.
Dec 1
Kuwait and Gulf and BP agree on terms of nationalization.
Dec 9
Iraq completes nationalization by taking over the BP, CFP, and Shell shares of the Basrah Petroleum Company.
Dec 22
President Ford signs the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) effective February 1976. Authorizes the establishment of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), participation in International Energy Program, and oil price regulation.


Official price of Saudi Light remains at $12.37 per barrel throughout 1976.
EPCA 3-tier price regulation begins. Small changes in Entitlements Program.
April - May
Lebanese civil war causes drop in Iraq exports through trans-Lebanon pipelines to Mediterranean.
OPEC issues press release vowing to "take appropriate measures" to protect OPEC interests in light of protectionist actions by certain countries.
Sep 1
U.S. stripper well oil prices decontrolled.
Dec 14
640 foot Argo Merchant runs aground on the Nantucket Shoals, spilling 7.6 million gallons of No. 6 fuel oil.
Moderates and OPEC "hawks" disagree on how fast price should rise. Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates increase prices by 5 percent, others by 10 percent.


OPEC goes to two-tier pricing (Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates use $12.09 per barrel and other OPEC countries use $12.70per barrel).
Fifty percent of Saudi Arabia's 10 MMB/D production is halted briefly due to fire damage to separation facility in Abqaiq field. Prices increase slightly.
OPEC prices reunified at $12.70 per barrel as Saudi Arabia and UAE fall into line, then official price rises to $13.66 per barrel.
Oct 23
Dry dock complex opens at Bahrain; only facility between Portugal and Singapore capable of servicing VLCCs.


Student protests against government of Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, begin, touching off a wave of political unrest and violent clashes between police and demonstrators. Throughout the year increasing anti-Shah activities are led by Muslim fundamentalists seeking to establish a Muslim state.
Amoco Cadiz tanker runs aground off the coast of France, spilling 1.6 million barrels of crude oil. (Largest crude spill to date.)
Iran and Saudi Arabia block efforts of OPEC price hawks to fix the price of OPEC oil in a currency more stable than the U.S. dollar. Say world economy cannot support associated price increases. Are accused by hawks of being U.S. agents.
Shah puts Iran under military rule. Muslim leader Noori arrested in crackdown of opposition groups.
Iranian strikes; departure of foreign technicians.
Pipeline fire drops Iraqi production 300,000 to 600,000 barrels per day.
Iranian oil production starts dropping.
Iranian production hits 1.5 MMB/D in mid-December; 500,000 on December 27, a 27-year low. OPEC production rises 1.6 MMBD over two months due to increased Saudi production.
Dec 17
OPEC decides on a 14.5 percent price increase for 1979, to be implemented quarterly.


First emergency Crude Oil Buy-Sell Program allocations.
Jan 16
Shah leaves Iran on vacation, never to return. Bakhtiar government established by the Shah to preside until unrest subsides.
Jan 20
Saudi Arabia announces drastic cut in first-quarter production. 9.5 MMBD ceiling imposed. Although actual cuts never reach announced levels, spot prices of Middle East light crudes rise 36 percent.
Jan 20
One million Iranians march in Teheran in a show of support for the exiled Ayatollah Komeini, fundamental Muslim leader.
Feb 12
Bakhtiar resigns as prime minister of Iran after losing support of the military.
Mar 5
Iran resumes petroleum exports.
Gasoline shortage/world oil glut.
Mar 26
OPEC makes full 14.5 percent price increase for 1979 effective on April 1. Marker crude raised to $14.56 per barrel.
DOE announces $5 per barrel entitlement to importers of heating oil. Saudi Arabia announces intention to increase direct sales and to sell less through Aramco. Both announcements send prices higher.
Jun 1
Phased oil price decontrol begins. Involves gradual 28 month increase of "old" oil price ceilings, and slower rate of increase of "new" oil price ceilings.
Jun 26-28
OPEC raises prices average of 15 percent, effective July 1.
Buy-Sell Program sales average more than 400,000 B/D from October 1979 through March 1980 - highest level since February 1976, due to emergency allocations.
Canada eliminates light crude oil exports to U.S. refiners, except for those exports required by operational constraints of pipelines.
Nov 4
Iran takes western hostages.
Nov 12
Carter orders cessation of Iranian imports to U.S.
Nov 15
Iran cancels all contracts with U.S. oil companies.
Dec 13
Saudi Arabia raises marker crude price to $24 per barrel.


Mar 1
Windfall Profits Tax enacted.
Saudi Light raised to $28.00 per barrel, retroactive to April 1.
Buy-Sell Program allocations drop to average of 120,000 B/D for period April to September 1980.
Sep 17
Iraq breaks 1975 treaty with Iran and proclaims sovereignty over Shatt al-Arab waterway.
Sep 23
Iraq invades Iran. Mutual bombing of installations.
Nov 10
Iraq captures southern port of Khorramshahr.
Nov 20-24
U.N. gulf war mediator Olaf Palme makes first unsuccessful peace shuttle between Tehran and Baghdad.
Collapse of OPEC's pricing structure. Saudis use $32 per barrel marker, others use $36 per barrel benchmark.


Saudis flood market with inexpensive oil in 1981, forcing unprecedented price cuts by OPEC members. In October, all 13 OPEC members align on a compromise $32 per barrel benchmark. Later, benchmark price is maintained, but differentials are adjusted.
Iraq repels first major Iranian offensive.
Jan 28
President Reagan lifts remaining domestic petroleum price and allocation controls originally scheduled to expire in September 1981.
After meetings in Baghdad and Teheran, attempts by nine Islamic Conference leaders to mediate peace between Iraq and Iran fail.
Windfall profits tax reduced.
Sep 27-28
Iran defends its besieged port of Abadan, driving back Iraqi forces.
OPEC reaches an agreement to unify crude price at $32 per barrel through 1982 and sets an ultimate price ceiling of $38 per barrel.
Nov 29
Major Iranian offensive mounted on central front.


Indications of a world oil glut lead to a rapid decline in world oil prices early in 1982. OPEC appears to lose control over world oil prices.
Damascus closes Iraq's 400,000 bbl/d trans-Syrian oil export pipeline to show support for Iran.
Mar 11
U.S. boycotts Libyan crude.
May 24Iran recaptures Khorramshahr.
Iran demands $150 billion in war reparations; pledges war until Iraq's Hussein stands trial.
Jun 10
Iraq declares unilateral cease-fire.
Jul 13
Iran launches first attack into Iraq.


Oil glut takes hold. Demand falls as a result of conservation, use of other fuels and recession. OPEC agrees to limit overall output to 17.5 MMB/D. OPEC agrees to individual output quotas and cuts prices by $5 to $29 per barrel.
Iraq increases missile attacks on Iran.
Jul 20-30
Iran moves into northern Iraq. Casualties top 13,800 in ten days.
Jul 26
U.S. threatens action to preserve navigation in Persian Gulf.
Heavy fighting and casualties in Iran-Iraq war.
Iran attacks northern Iraq, threatening Kirkuk pipeline.


Iran captures Najnoon Islands.
Mar 27
Beginning of "tanker war." Over the next nine months, 44 ships, including Iranian, Iraqi, Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti tankers, are attacked by Iraqi or Iranian warplanes or damaged by mines.
Iran mobilizes 500,000 troops to southern front. No offensive materializes.
May 26
President Reagan rules out U.S. military intervention.
Civilian target truce in Iran-Iraq war.
Norway and Britain cut prices in response to falling spot market. Nigeria follows, renewing pressure on OPEC price cuts.
Oct 17
OPEC cuts production to 16 MMB/D, but agreement is negated by cheating and price-discounting.


Nine OPEC members adjust prices to cut gap between light and heavy crudes from $4 to $2.40 per barrel. Saudi light price cut one dollar to $28 per barrel.
Mar 11-19
Iranian offensive; heavy casualties.
"Battle of the cities" - heavy bombing from both Iran and Iraq.
OPEC output falls to 20-year low of 13.7 MMB/D.
Iran begins hit-and-run raids on Iraq.
OPEC loses customers to cheaper North Sea oil. More OPEC price cuts.
Saudi Arabia links prices to spot market. Output rises from 2 MMB/D in August to 5 MMB/D in early 1986.
Aug 15
First Iraqi air raid on Iran's main oil export terminal, Kharg Island.
Nov 6
Exploratory well in Ranger, Texas, blows out, spilling 150,000 BBLS of crude oil.
OPEC output hits 18 MMB/D boosting a glut and triggering a price war.


Average world oil prices fall by over 50 percent in 1986. There is wide use of netback pricing in 1986.
Feb 3-4
OPEC fails to agree upon a production accord after a two-day meeting in Vienna.
Iran captures southern Faw peninsula, starts northern offensive.
May 7
Iraq bombs Tehran refinery.
OPEC production-cut talks fail, ending in a tentative majority pact on an average 1986 ceiling of 17.6 MMB/D.
Jun 8
Iraqi jets attack Assadabad satellite station.
Brent price dips under $9 per barrel. OPEC production rises to 20 MMB/D.
Jul 27
Iraqi jets attack central Iranian city of Arak. Iran threatens missile attack of gulf states supporting Iraq.
Aug 2
Hussein offers peace in open letter to Iran.
Aug 4
Reports of probable OPEC agreement on output quotas sends oil prices higher.
Aug 12
Iran fires missile at refinery near Baghdad. Iraq raids Iranian terminal at Sirri Island severely disrupting Iranian exports.
Dec 19
OPEC reaches an accord that would cut production by seven percent for the first six months of 1987 (from 17 MMB/D to 16 MMB/D) and would raise prices immediately toward a target world oil price of $18 per barrel.


OPEC price accord begins to deteriorate.
OPEC majors stick to fixed prices.
Gulf war escalates.
OPEC meeting failure.


Wide use of crude formula pricing in 1988.
OPEC price meeting set.
OPEC/Non-OPEC meeting failure.
Iran accepts cease fire.
Oct 14
Crude oil prices jump in anticipation of possible production accord at Gulf Cooperation Council meeting set for October 16.
Nov 28
OPEC reaches production accord. Six-month agreement to set production at 18.5 MMB/D. Although the recent OPEC quota had been 19.0 MMB/D, actual OPEC production had been closer to 21.0 MMB/D.
Fulmar/Brent outages.


Exxon tanker Valdez runs aground, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil in the waters of Price William Sound. Oil prices react upward to news of the spill and to potential shortages on the west coast cased by refinery fires there.
OPEC raises their production ceiling to 19.5 MMB/D.


Iraq invades Kuwait. Crude and product prices soar upward; exchange markets react wildly to any middle east news events; cash markets dominate prices after trading hours; jet fuel prices rise to record spreads over other products due to increase in defense demand. In late August, OPEC president fails to revive floundering attempts to organize a formal OPEC meeting to discuss crisis/production strategies. Informal meetings held in Vienna result in record price falls.
Conflicting reports of promises to increase OPEC output to compensate for embargo of Iraq and Kuwait oil further compound market uncertainties.
Aug 2
raq invades Kuwait.
Bush orders troops to Saudi Arabia.
Aug 27
Market prices plunge as OPEC nears informal agreement to increase output to cover 4 MMB/D shortfall due to invasion. Cash market trading experiences abrupt decline.
Sep 6
U.S. citizen is shot in Kuwait. API reports 4.4 MMB weekly draw in domestic crude stocks. Oil markets surge on aggressive U.S. statements toward Iraq.
Sep 21
Reports that U.S refinery problems will lead to a 200,000 B/D loss in capacity and aggressive remarks by Saddam Hussein send crude prices to new highs.
Sep 24
Iraq invades the French and Dutch missions in Kuwait; French President Mitterand called the action a violation of international law; a U.S. warship boards an Iraqi-flagged tanker bound for the port of Basrah.
Sep 18
Crude prices outpace increases in product prices and there is talk of cutting refinery runs.
Sep 20
Poor refining margins.
Sep 24
Saddam Hussein states his willingness to strike first and his intention to damage oil fields in the region if Iraq does strike.
Oct 1
Saddam Hussein says he may be willing to negotiate the occupation of Kuwait and would consider foreign participation in negotiations.
Oct 3
API reports a 9 MMB weekly U.S. crude inventory draw.
Oct. 9
Fear of war and long-term supply disruptions as Hussein threatens Israel.
Oct 10
API reports crude inventories dropped by more than 4 MMB in the last week.
Oct 11
Libya's Qadhafi says Israel must be eliminated, and U.K. Foreign Secretary Hurd says force would be used if Iraq doesn't withdrawal from Kuwait.
Nov 5
Reports of increasing Saudi production and lower world demand.
Nov 6
Iran's oil-producing region suffers a serious earthquake.
Nov 7
API reports 5 MMB U.S. crude inventory weekly increase.
Nov 8
Unconfirmed rumors that Bush would announce an airlift of supplies to U.S. embassy in Kuwait, which could ultimately trigger a military clash.
Nov 13
Saudis ask U.S. for rights to bid on SPR crude.
Nov 19
Report that Iraq will bolster its forces in Kuwait.
Nov 20
API reports crude inventory drop in U.S. of more than 4 MMB; Saddam Hussein announces plans to release German hostages; Soviet Union shows reluctance to endorse the use of force against Iraq.
Nov 21
French President Mitterand voices support of a proposed U.N. resolution that would authorize the use of force in the Persian Gulf.
Nov 26
U.S. proposes addition to U.N. resolution that would require Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait by January 1.
Nov 29
U.N. Security Council approves U.S.-sponsored resolution authorizing the use of force in the Persian Gulf if Iraq does not withdrawal from Kuwait by Jan. 15, 1991.
Nov 30
President Bush offers to send Secretary of State James Baker to Baghdad to meet with Hussein.
Dec 4
An Iraqi official reports that Iraq will withdraw if it can retain control of the Rumailah field and keep Bubiyan and Werbah islands; also says that demands that the Palestinian issue be treated separately would not be surmountable.
Dec 5
Iraq announces willingness to speak with U.S. about resolving the Persian Gulf crisis.
Dec 13
Secretary of State Baker questions Iraq's seriousness about Middle East peace.
Dec 18
Bush reiterates his "no concessions" stance against Iraq.


Jan 4
Reports Iraq will accept U.S. offer for talks in Geneva.
Jan 7
Saddam Hussein prepares his troops for what he says will be a long violent war against the U.S.
Jan 9-14
At Geneva talks, Baker says that "regrettably" Iraqi Foreign Minister Aziz has indicated no softening in Iraq's position. Peace talks break down, but there is still talk of a peaceful solution to the crisis.
Jan 15
Report that Iraq has a new peace initiative.
Jan 16
U.S. begins air attack against Iraqi military targets. President Bush directs drawdown of Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). U.S. Secretary of Energy James Watkins orders 33.75 MMB drawdown. Crude oil prices drop $9-10 per barrel in one day after having risen $3-5 per barrel during the first half of January.
Jan 17
Reports of early U.S. and allied success against Iraqi forces; DOE issues SPR sales notice.
Jan 18
Iraqi Scud missiles land in Israel.
Jan 22
Kuwaiti oil facilities are destroyed by Iraq and more Iraqi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia.
Jan 30DOE selects 13 firms to purchase 17.3 MMB of SPR crude oil.
Surplus of unsold oil held by oil producers reaches 80-90 MMB.
Feb 5
First SPR oil delivered to commercial buyers.
Feb 15
Daily market volatility as Hussein mentions withdrawal, but Bush calls his offer a "cruel hoax."
Feb 26
Signs of Iran crude now an option for U.S. refiners, but no imports from Iran likely in near future.
Feb 28
War ends. U.N. troops move into Kuwait City. Saddam Hussein orderstroops out of Kuwait. Iraqi soldiers ignite Kuwaiti oil fields during their retreat.
Mar 1
News that Kuwait will need to import crude in the short term.
Mar 12
OPEC announces production cut to 22.3 MMB/D.
Mar 13
API reports a 6 MMB weekly domestic crude inventory draw; Saudi Arabia and Iran say OPEC production cuts will take effect April 1.
Mar 19
Gorbachev says the Soviet Union will cut its oil exports by nearly half.
Mar 25
Nigerian crude becomes competitive in U.S. Gulf Coast as Nigeria cuts crude prices.
Apr 25
Iraq expects to resume crude and product exports by July.
June 3
Kuwait asks GCC members to produce 800,000 B/D of oil on its behalf.
Unsuccessful coup attempt against Soviet President Gorbachev has minimal effect on oil markets.
Soviet Union suspends petroleum product exports as its fuel shortages grow. NYMEX futures price for WTI climbs nearly $2, ending at $24 per barrel.
Last of Kuwait oil well fires extinguished by well control teams.
U.S. Senate filibuster causes withdrawl of an Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) pro-leasing bill.
Soviet Union collapses as a series of events precipitated by Ukrainian vote for independence leads to formation of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).


Kuwait reports oil production of 400,000 B/D; insists on restoration of its pre-invasion OPEC quota of 1.5 MMB/D.
UN threatens sanctions against Libya for its refusal to extradite suspected terrorists.
CIS announces that 1991 crude exports dropped by 52%.
Saudi Arabia supports a crude oil price hike during a late-month OPEC meeting. NYMEX Futures prices exceed $22 per barrel.
OPEC production reaches highest level in more than a decade at 25.25 MMB/D.
U.S., Mexico, and Canada sign NAFTA multi-lateral free trade agreement.


Oil prices plunge on speculation that Iraq will accept U.N. missile test site inspections and receive approval to resume oil exports.
Combination of OPEC overproduction, surging North Sea output, and weak demand lowers the price of Brent to near $15 per barrel.


Oil Prices firm on strength of institutional shifting of U.S. investment funds from equity and bond markets to cash and commodities.
Nigerian production disrupted by oil workers' strike in response to imprisonment of apparent winner of presidential elections.


Sources include: Dallas Morning News (DMN); Dow Jones (DJ); Energy Compass (EC); Financial Times (FT); New York Times (NYT); Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW); Platt's Oilgram News (PON); Wall Street Journal (WSJ); Washington Post (WP); Washington Times (WT); and Weekly Petroleum Argus (WPA).

Jan. 14
Mexico pledges profits from state-owned Pemex's $7-billion-per-year oil revenues in an effort to secure U.S. congressional approval of $40-billion worth of loan guarantees. Subsequently, President Clinton approved a $20-billion U.S. aid package for Mexico. (DMN)
Jan. 30
Norway's Statoil announces that a newly-formed consortium of 11 oil companies will develop a plan to supply Norwegian natural gas to the European continent. Three Norwegian companies recently signed a contract with Gaz de France to bring 1.4 trillion cubic feet of Norwegian gas to France between 2001 and 2027. (DJ)
Feb. 28
The Pentagon announces that it monitored Iranian installation of surface-to-air Hawk missiles in the Strait of Hormuz. The Iranians also have taken possession of and fortified the nearby Abu Musa and the Tunb Islands, which are claimed by both Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). (DJ)
June 14
After the semi-annual meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, President Ida Bagus Sudjana discloses the Organization's intention to roll over its present crude oil production ceiling of 24.52 million barrels per day. The announcement is followed by a trip to Norway by Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Hisham M. Nazer. Upon arriving, the Saudi Minister asks Norwegian Minister of Industry and Energy Jens Stoltenberg to restrain his country's oil production in the hopes of stabilizing world oil prices. (FT, DJ)
June 30
Exxon signs a $15.2-billion deal to develop oil and gas fields near Russia's Sakhalin Island. The Sakhalin I project will develop the offshore Shayvo, Odoptu, and Arkutun-Dagi fields that together are estimated to contain 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil and 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Exxon has a 30 percent stake in the project. (NYT, DJ)
July 6
Venezuela's Congress approves the country's first investment law allowing for foreign participation in oil exploration and production. The newly-passed "model agreement" authorizes the state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) to offer 10 exploration blocks to foreign investors. If oil is discovered, the government will maintain a majority stake in any joint venture formed to develop the new fields. (FT, DJ)
July 27
Saudi Aramco awards the giant Shaybah oil field development project to U.S.-based Parsons Corporation. The $2.5-billion project will develop the 7-billion-barrel field, including the construction of crude oil production facilities, gas-oil separation plants, and a 372-mile pipeline. The Shaybah field is located on the Saudi-UAE border and is expected to produce 500,000 barrels per day after it comes on line in 1999. (PON)
July 28
Norwegian Finance Minister Sigbjorn Johnsen says that Norway should not lower its crude oil production in an attempt to boost world oil prices. Norwegian Oil Minister Jens Stoltenberg believes production cuts may be necessary if prices begin to fall. Minister Johnsen's remarks follow last month's visit by Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Hisham M. Nazer, who asked Minister Stoltenberg to cut Norway's crude oil production. (PON)
Aug. 2
Saudi Arabia's King Fahd issues a decree replacing all members of the Council of Ministers who do not have blood ties so the royal Family. While most of the Council's top positions are unaffected by the reshuffling, Oil Minister Hisham Nazer is replaced with Ali bin Ibrahim al-Naimi. (WSJ)
Aug. 14
Iran's official news agency, IRNA, reports that Iran has been unable to sell 200,000 barrels per day of crude oil since the imposition of a unilateral oil embargo by the U.S. Iran increasingly has sold its crude oil on spot markets as opposed to long-term contracts. Larger purchases by France, Spain, Italy, China, India, Pakistan, and Thailand have failed to offset decreased demand by German and Japanese refiners. Before the U.S. embargo was announced in April 1995, U.S. companies were buying between 400,000 and 450,000 barrels per day, down from roughly 600,000 barrels per day in 1994. (PON)
Aug. 28
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Abdul Mohsen al-Medej announces that his country will increase its oil production capacity to as much as 3.5 million barrels per day by 2005. (DJ)
Sept. 13
The Kuwaiti Oil Ministry states its intention to seek a 200,000-barrel-per-day increase to its current 2-million-barrel-per-day crude oil production quota at the November 1995 OPEC meeting in Vienna. The announcement comes amidst growing non-OPEC oil production and weak oil prices. (DJ)
Nov. 22
OPEC states that it will roll over its current oil production quota of 25.42 million barrels per day. The roll-over was widely anticipated because of slack world oil demand, rising non-OPEC production, and weak prices. (DJ, PON)
Nov. 29
President Clinton approves legislation lifting a 22-year-old ban on exports of oil from the Alaskan North Slope (ANS). The ban was imposed after the oil embargo by Arab oil producers in 1973. The lifting of the ban opens up about one-quarter of U.S. crude oil production for export. The ANS legislation also waives royalty payments on deep water oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico. (WP)
Dec. 12
Speaking in New York during a U.S. visit by Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos, Joaquim David, president of the state-owned oil company , Sonangol, states that Angola will increase its crude oil production by 10 percent per year over the next five years, reaching 720,000 barrels per day by the end of 1996 and 1 million barrels per day by 2001. The statement comes amidst sporadic violence involving government forces and the rebel group UNITA, less than a year after a peace accord was signed ending the country's 20-year-old civil war. At the end of 1995, Angola had raised its crude oil production to 690,000 barrels per day. (PON, DJ)


Sources include: Dow Jones (DJ), Financial Times (FT), New York Times (NYT), and Platt's Oilgram News (PON), Washington Post (WP), and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

For a more detailed description of 1996 events go here.

January 17
Iraq agrees to talks concerning a U.N. plan to allow for the Iraqi sale of $1 billion of oil for 90 days for a 180-day trial period. Under U.N. Resolution 986, proceeds from the sale would be used for humanitarian purposes. In the past, Iraq has opposed clauses 6 and 8b contained in Resolution 986. Clause 6 stipulates that oil exports under this plan must pass through the 1.6-million b/d Iraq-Turkey pipeline, which currently is unusable because of sludge build-ups and pumping station damage. By most estimates, the line would take a minimum of three months to repair. Clause 8b states that part of the proceeds from the sales would be disbursed under U.N. supervision to Kurdish provinces in northern Iraq. Negotiations between Iraq and the United Nations are scheduled to begin February 6, 1996. (FT, PON, DJ)
January 30
Vice Admiral Scott Redd, commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet based in the Persian Gulf, states that Iran test-fired a new anti-ship missile near the Strait of Hormuz on January 6. The missile reportedly has a range of 60 miles and is viewed as a threat to regional security by U.S. naval forces operating in the area. Oil tankers carry about 15 million b/d through the Strait. (DJ)
April 24
In New York, the United Nations and Iraq end a third round of negotiations over Iraq's possible sale of $1 billion of oil for 90 days for a 180-day trial period. Under U.N. Resolution 986, proceeds from the sale would be used for humanitarian purposes. While both sides have reached agreement on most of the key issues, chief Iraqi negotiator Abdul Amir al-Anbari says that the United States and the United Kingdom have fundamentally altered the text of a proposed agreement which he had received from the United Nations early in the third round. Al-Anbari states that the changes have postponed any possible deal. The U.N.-Iraq talks are scheduled to restart on May 10. (DJ)
April 30
In the United States, President Clinton approves the sale of $227 million of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. At current oil prices, roughly 12 million barrels would be sold. The Clinton Administration hopes that the sale will lower gasoline prices in the United States, which are at their highest levels in five years. (WSJ)
May 20
In New York, the United Nations and Iraq agree to U.N. Resolution 986, which provides Iraq with the opportunity to sell $1 billion of oil for 90 days for a 180-day trial period. Under the resolution, proceeds from the sale would be used for humanitarian purposes. The agreement comes following months of heated negotiations. Iraqi oil exports are expected to begin by the Fall of 1996, after a pumping station on the Iraq-Turkey pipeline is repaired and U.N monitoring and aid distribution facilities are put in place. Shortly after the agreement, the White House announces its decision to allow U.S. oil companies to purchase Iraqi oil exports. (FT, PON, WSJ)
June 11
Exxon states that it will soon begin work on its $15-billion Sakhalin I oil and natural gas development in Russia's Far East. The Sakhalin I project will develop an estimated 5 billion barrels of oil and 15 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas located in three offshore hydrocarbon fields. The $300 million appraisal program will include drilling one exploration well and conducting a 3-D seismic survey. The U.S. company says that it will start working despite ongoing differences with the Russian government over the country's new production sharing law, which is widely viewed as not offering adequate legal protection for foreign investment in the country's oil and gas sectors. (FT)
June 20
The Venezuelan Congress approves eight, multi-billion dollar, profit-sharing deals which allow foreign oil companies to explore and produce oil in Venezuela for the first time since the country's 1975 nationalization of the oil industry. The deals could boost Venezuela's current oil production by 500,000 b/d by 2005. Foreign oil companies such as Amoco and British Petroleum are expected to sign final deals with state-owned PdVSA within 10 days and may begin working on their new acreage by the third quarter of 1996. The eight blocks are estimated to hold between 7 to 11 billion barrels of light crude oil reserves. (PON, DJ)
July 7
OPEC issues a resolution announcing Gabon's withdrawal from the organization, effective January 1, 1995. Gabon had an OPEC quota of 287,000 b/d. (FT)
July 18
The United Nations formally approves an Iraqi aid distribution plan, a major step forward in the direction of allowing Iraq to sell oil under Resolution 986. (DJ)
August 6
President Clinton signs a new bill imposing sanctions on non-U.S. companies which invest over $40 million a year in the energy sectors of either Iran and Libya. Under the law, the President would be required to impose at least two of the following sanctions: import and export bans; lending embargoes from U.S. banks; a ban on U.S. procurement of goods and services from sanctioned companies; and a denial of U.S export financing. The European Union has stated its opposition to the U.S. law and threatened retaliation. (FT)
August 21
In Venezuela, a subsidiary of state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA), Corpoven, signs a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with U.S.-based ARCO. The MOU provides for a $3.5-billion joint venture to develop and upgrade roughly 200,000 b/d of crude oil from the country's 270-billion Orinoco Heavy Oil Belt. The project will produce 9° API gravity crude oil in the Hamaca region and upgrade it to 25° API for export to U.S. refineries. The project will be implemented in three phases, the last of which will be completed in 2006. Another PdVSA subsidiary, Maraven, recently signed another, similar deal with Conoco. (PON, FT)
September 5
Following U.S. cruise missile strikes on military facilities in southern Iraq, crude oil prices rise as the market speculates when Iraq will begin exporting oil under U.N. Resolution 986. Benchmark Brent Blend for October rises above $22/barrel amidst the uncertainty. The U.S. attack follows an Iraqi-supported invasion of Kurdish safe haven areas in the country's northern area. Subsequently, President Bill Clinton states that the U.N. oil-for-food sale should be postponed indefinitely. (DJ)
October 30
Exxon confirms that it is in talks with state-owned Qatar General Petroleum Corporation concerning the application of new technology to convert natural gas to petroleum products. Exxon believes that technology developed in a successful 200-b/d Anatural gas refinery project in Texas would work in Qatar, where a proposed $1-billion plant would be able produce between 50,000-100,000 b/d of middle distillate products. Under the proposal, Qatar's 270-Tcf North field would supply between 0.5-1 Bcf/d of gas for use as feedstock. In the past, technological barriers and high costs have precluded the development of natural gas refineries. (WSJ)
December 18
During a press conference, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Maleki states that Iran supports the free flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, but reserves the option of closing off the shipping route if it is threatened. Iran recently has admitted to deploying anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles on Abu Musa, an island strategically located near the Strait of Hormuz's shipping lanes. (DJ)
December 30
The United Nations announces that a total of 21 contracts have been approved for the limited Iraqi oil sales under U.N. Resolution 986. The approved contracts will allow for 43.68 million barrels of oil to be exported in the first 90 days of the sale. At present, exports of 26.37 million barrels have been approved for the second 90-day period of the sale, which allows Iraq to sell up to $1 billion worth of oil every 90 days for an initial 6-month period. In mid-December 1996, Iraq restarted the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, which is expected to carry up to 450,000 b/d of oil under the sales agreements approved so far under U.N. Resolution 986. Iraq's remaining oil exports will flow through the Mina al-Bakr terminal. (NYT, DJ)


Sources include: Dow Jones (DJ), New York Times (NYT), and the Washington Post (WP).

For a more detailed description of 1997 events go here.

February 5
Japan's Ministry of Finance announces plans to cut import tariffs on crude oil and most petroleum products from April 1, 1997, in a phased process that will reduce the country's crude oil import tariff rate to zero in April 2002. (DJ)
February 24
Qatar inaugurates the world's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporting facility and formally launches Qatar Liquefied Gas Co., which will have total output capacity of 6 million tons per year of LNG. The facilities are part of a new $7.2 billion industrial zone which also includes a sea port with a capacity to handle 25-30 million tons of LNG annually. Qatar plans to build more gas liquefaction plants in the area to exploit its natural gas reserves of around 237 trillion cubic feet. (DJ)
April 1
A Shell spokesman confirms the company will declare force majeure at its Nigerian Bonny terminal due to local protests which disrupted 210,000 barrels per day of the company's oil production. Although the protests have ended and production is returning to normal, the backlog is temporarily delaying loadings by 3 days. (DJ)
May 16
A final agreement creating the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) is signed by project participants: Russia (24 percent), Kazakstan (19 percent), Chevron Corp. (15 percent), AO Lukoil/Arco Corp. (12.5 percent), Mobil Corp. (7.5 percent), AO Rosneft/Shell Corp. (7.5 percent), Oman (7 percent), Agip SpA (2 percent), British Gas PLC (2 percent), Oryx Corp. (1.75 percent), and Kazakstan Pipeline Ventures, a joint venture of Kazakstan's state oil company and Amoco Corp. (1.75 percent). The Russian government plans to transfer its stake to two Russian oil companies, AO Lukoil and AO Rosneft. CPC plans to begin building a 932-mile pipeline to transport crude oil from the Caspian region to Russia's Black Sea coast in 1998 and begin shipping around 558,000 barrels per day of oil in 1999 (planned peak capacity is 1.4 million barrels per day). (DJ)
May 20
President Clinton signs an executive order barring new U.S. investment in Burma (also known as Myanmar), effective May 21 and renewable annually. U.S. companies have invested about $250 million in Burma, primarily in the oil and gas sector. The biggest U.S. investor is Unocal, which is building (with France's Total) a $1.2 billion pipeline from Burma's Yadana natural gas field to an electric power plant in Thailand. (DJ)
June 4
In a unanimous vote, the United Nations Security Council renews for another 180-day period its "oil­for­food" initiative with Iraq. Under the resolution, Iraq may sell $2 billion worth of oil to buy food, medicine and other necessities to alleviate civilian suffering under the sanctions imposed when it invaded Kuwait in 1990. (WP)
July 22
The first shipments of oil produced from Kazakstan's Tengiz field arrive at terminals on the Black Sea in Novorossiysk (Russia) and Batumi (Georgia) for subsequent export through the Bosphoros Strait. Volumes total between 100,000 and 150,000 barrels per day. (DJ)
July 23
The U.S. State Department rules that Turkey's August 1996 agreement to purchase $23 billion worth of natural gas from Iran over a 20-year period does not violate the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act. In a May 1997 memorandum of understanding with Iran and Turkmenistan, Turkey modified the original arrangement so that the natural gas will be purchased from Turkmenistan rather than Iran. (DJ)
August 4
In Colombia, Occidental Petroleum, a California-based international oil company, and Ecopetrol, Colombia's national oil company, declare force majeure on all oil exports from the Cano Limon field. The declaration comes after a series of attacks dating back to July 30 knocked out a major oil pipeline transporting oil from the field to the Caribbean port of Covenas. The pipeline has been attacked 45 times this year which is equal to the total number of attacks for 1996. Responsibility for the attacks has not been determined, but leftist guerrillas from the National Liberation Army are usually blamed for such attacks. The force majeure declaration does not apply to the oil contained in the 2 million barrel storage facility at Covenas. (DJ)
August 8
The United Nations approves a sale-price formula for Iraqi crude oil sales under the oil-for-food plan. The approval cleared the way for Iraq to resume limited oil exports immediately through the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea and Iraq's Gulf port of Mina al-Bakr. The United Nations will also begin reviewing contracts for Iraqi crude oil purchases. Iraq has until September 5 to raise the $1.07 billion allowed under the existing 90 day oil-for-food plan window. Iraqi officials state they will boost exports to 2 million barrels per day to meet the sales target. However, industry experts say that Iraq's export capacity is untested beyond 1.4 million barrel per day. (DJ)
September 12
The United Nations Security Council passes a resolution that allows Iraq to reach the $2.14 billion oil sales limit under its oil-for-food program by December 5. The current 6-month oil sales window, running from June 8 to December 5, will be split into a 120-day segment and a 60-day segment instead of two 90-day segments. During each segment Iraq can sell $1.07 billion worth of oil. The resolution should enable Iraq to make up for lost revenues during a delay in the start of oil sales during the first two months of the current six month sale period. (DJ)
October 29
Iraq's Revolution Command Council, the country's main decision making body, announces that it will no longer allow U.S. citizens and U.S. aircraft to serve with the United Nations (U.N.) arms inspection teams. The council's statement gives U.S. citizens working with the inspection teams one week to leave Iraq. Iraq has also asked the U.N. to stop flights by American reconnaissance aircraft monitoring its compliance with U.N. resolutions requiring the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. In response to this statement, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approves a statement condemning Iraq's threats to expel the Americans. (DJ)
November 20
Iraq's Revolution Command Council formally endorses an agreement, arranged by Russia, that enables United Nation's (U.N.) weapons inspection teams to resume operations in Iraq. The deal ends a three-week standoff between the U.N. and Iraq that began in late October 1997 after Iraq announced it would no longer allow U.S. citizens to serve on U.N. weapons' inspection teams. (DJ)
November 29
For the first time in four years, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agrees to an increase in its production ceiling. OPEC has raised the ceiling to 27.5 million barrels per day for the first half of 1998, effective January 1, 1998. The new ceiling represents a 10 percent increase over the current ceiling. The new quotas are as follows: Saudi Arabia 8.76 million barrels per day (bbl/d), Iran 3.942 million bbl/d, Iraq 1.314 million bbl/d, Venezuela 2.583 million bbl/d, Nigeria 2.042 million bbl/d, Indonesia 1.456 million bbl/d, Kuwait 2.19 million bbl/d, Libya 1.522 million bbl/d, United Arab Emirates 2.366 million bbl/d, Algeria 0.909 million bbl/d, and Qatar 0.414 million bbl/d. (NYT)
December 4
Iraq's United Nations (U.N.) Ambassador Nizar Hamdoon warns that Iraq will not allow oil to flow during a third six-month phase of the U.N.'s oil-for-food sale until the U.N. approves an aid distribution plan. Despite the warning, the U.N. Security Council approves a third six-month phase following the end of the second six-month phase. Like the first two phases, the third phase allows Iraq to sell up to $1.07 billion of oil in each of two 90-day periods. However, the sales level may be increased by the Security Council in January 1998 after U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan reports on Iraq's needs. The next day Iraq stops pumping oil into the Iraqi-Turkish pipeline at the end of the second six-month phase of the United Nations (U.N.) oil-for-food program. (WP, NYT)
December 11
Delegates from 150 industrial nations attending a United Nations climate conference in Kyoto, Japan reach agreement on a protocol to control heat-trapping greenhouse gases. The protocol, if ratified, would commit nations to roll back emissions of six greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulphur hexafluoride) below 1990 levels. Under the protocol, the United States would be required to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels, while Europe and Japan would make cuts of 8 percent and 9 percent, respectively. Developing countries are exempt from the emissions ceilings for the time being. (DJ)

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