OPEC (Price Fixing)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Energy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th May 1983.

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Photo of Mr Nigel Lawson Mr Nigel Lawson Secretary of State for Energy 12:00 am, 9th May 1983

I venture to disagree with my hon. Friend. OPEC accounts for about 30 per cent. of total world production, so it can hardly be held to be a cartel in any meaningful sense. There is no question of the oil price falling to the cost of production in the middle east, as the OPEC countries would not continue to produce oil at anything less than a market price. Sharp fluctuations in the oil price, whether up or down, do most harm to the world economy and to underdeveloped countries.