Right now there is an international forum being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of Oil Producing Countries (Opec).

In 1960 Opec was founded to secure stable supplies and fair prices for oil.
The cartel was soon blamed for high costs, accused of controlling oil prices by limiting production. 

The counter claim is that the international oil market was dominated by huge multinational energy companies, most of them American.
In the seventies, oil prices rose steeply, but the artificial price rise made it economically feasible for non-Opec countries to produce and export their own oil, stripping Opec of its market dominance.

After several ups and downs oil prices climbed again after the most recent war in Iraq, soaring to record levels by 2008, and breaking the $100 barrier for the first time in history, before collapsing once again in the face of worldwide economic recession.

As the oil cartel Opec turns 50, what holds the future? And will oil continue to dominate the world's energy markets?

Joining the programme are Abdulla bin Hamad al-Attiyah, the Qatari deputy prime minister, and minister for Energy and Industry, Jochen Weise, a memebr of the board of directors of EON Ruhrgas, one of Europe's largest gas companies, and Mohamed Aggour, a senior professor and coordinator of the petroleum engineering programme at Texas A&M University.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Monday, May 17, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera