Glencoe World Geography, 2005
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Chapter 19: North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia Today
"The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries"

In this chapter students have learned about the global importance of this region of the world, due in part to the fact that it contains about two-thirds of the world's oil reserves. Oil is essential both for developed countries and for developing countries that are becoming industrialized and improving their economies. In this activity students will learn more about the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its influence on global oil prices.

Lesson Description
Students will access the official OPEC Web site and explore the purpose, history, and member nations of this organization. After answering four questions about these topics, students will conduct additional research and write a one-page essay about the exploration of alternative energy sources to be used when the world's supply of crude oil is depleted.

Applied Content Standards
Standard 12: The geographically informed person knows and understands the processes, patterns, and functions of human settlements.
Standard 13: The geographically informed person knows and understands how the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface.
Standard 15: The geographically informed person knows and understands how physical systems affect human systems.
Standard 16: The geographically informed person knows and understands the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.

Student Web Activity Answers

  1. OPEC is an international organization of 11 countries that are heavily reliant on oil revenues as their main source of income. The 11 members are Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
  2. OPEC's objective is to coordinate and unify petroleum policies among member countries in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers; an efficient, economic, and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair return on capital to those investing in the industry.
  3. Crude oil is a naturally-occurring substance found trapped in certain rocks below the earth's surface. It is a dark, sticky liquid which, scientifically, is classed as a hydrocarbon—meaning it is a compound containing only hydrogen and carbon. Crude oil is highly flammable and can be burned to create energy. However, to extract the maximum value from crude oil, it must be refined into other products.
  4. World reserves stood at 1,042,536 million barrels; world demand was about 76 million barrels per day. At this rate, the oil will last about 38 years. (1,042,536 million barrels in reserve / 76 million barrels consumed per day = 13,718 days worth of oil left; 13,718 days / 365 days in a year = ~38 years worth of oil left.)
  5. Students' essays and opinions will vary.

Go To Student Web Activity


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