In April 1965, the OPEC Conference unanimously agreed to move the OPEC Secretariat from Geneva, Switzerland, to its new, cordial home in Vienna, the capital of Austria. This historic milestone in the Organization’s affairs set the foundation for 55 years of strong and constructive relations between OPEC and its host country.
OPEC was founded in September 1960 when the representatives of five oil-producing countries – Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – met in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. These countries were later known as Founding Members, and the representatives as the Founding Fathers.
The First Meeting of the OPEC Conference was held in a time of economic and political transition, during which multilateralism and international cooperation – OPEC’s key principles – were most needed.
From its first days, OPEC was able to develop a collective vision and set noble objectives. The Organization first established its Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.
At the 8th (Extraordinary) Meeting of the OPEC Conference held in April 1965, OPEC Heads of Delegation approved a host agreement with the Government of Austria, effectively moving the Organization’s headquarters to the city of Vienna on 1 September 1965.
The host agreement was signed by Ashraf Lutfi, then OPEC Secretary General, and Dr Bruno Kreisky, former Chancellor of Austria and its Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time. At this historic event, the two entities embarked on a cooperative relationship that has expanded and prospered ever since.
Over the years, the OPEC Secretariat has been located at four different sites in Vienna.
Its first headquarters was located in two small buildings in Vienna’s 4th district, along Möllwaldplatz 5. It then moved into the city’s 1st district at Dr-Karl-Lueger-Ring 10, now called Universitätsring (renamed in 2012). In 1977, it moved to Obere Donaustrasse 93 in the second district of the city to overlook the Danube Canal, where it stayed for over three decades.
The Secretariat returned to the historical first district of Vienna in November 2009, relocating to Helferstorferstrasse 17, beside the former Vienna Stock Exchange. This remains the current site of the OPEC Headquarters. OPEC, as an organization of excellence, has attracted staff members from across the globe. They all reside in charming Austria to attend to their duties, additionally enjoying the famous and remarkable nature, culture and art the country has to offer.
In 2020, OPEC marks 60 years since its establishment and 55 years since moving its Headquarters to Vienna.
In light of the ongoing cordial growth in the relationship between OPEC and Austria over the years, this historic cooperation, harkening back to 1965, is set to continue flourishing for decades to come. On behalf of OPEC, its 13 Member Countries and the Secretariat, we thank Austria, its leaders and its people, for their remarkable hospitality and look forward to sharing the years ahead.