Stockpiling to Contain OPEC

39 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2006 Last revised: 25 Jul 2017

See all articles by Marc H. Vatter

Marc H. Vatter

Marc H. Vatter, Ph.D.; Elevation Direct; Economic Insight, Inc.; Brown University Dept. of Economics

Date Written: May 30, 2008


I maximize present valued world GDP over the stockpile of petroleum used to contain price shocks administered by OPEC. Long run price elasticity of demand and non-OPEC supply exceed those in the short run, so OPEC profits from sudden, as opposed to gradual, increases in price. These shocks damage the world economy. I simulate interaction among consumers, non-OPEC producers, a profit-maximizing, monolithic OPEC, and an International Energy Agency that punishes OPEC by releasing oil from stockpiles onto the market during upward shocks to price. A stockpile of 6 billion barrels would add much more to world GDP than the cost of holding it and the lost profits to OPEC under a range of assumptions, though private actors do not have incentive to maintain and use stocks to maximize GDP. Authority over stockpiles should be shielded from the influence of the energy industry, whose profits may not be maximized at oil prices that maximize GDP. Prices equal to marginal costs would be low into the 2030s, then rise rapidly with costs. World consumption of petroleum reaches a peak of 67 bbl/yr in 2045, and declines quickly thereafter.

Keywords: Strategic Petroleum Reserve, OPEC, IEA, Oil Price Shock

JEL Classification: Q34, Q38, Q41, Q43, Q48

Suggested Citation

Vatter, Marc H., Stockpiling to Contain OPEC (May 30, 2008). USAEE Working Paper No. 17-136. Available at SSRN: or

Marc H. Vatter (Contact Author)

Marc H. Vatter, Ph.D. ( email )

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Elevation Direct ( email )

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Economic Insight, Inc. ( email )

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Brown University Dept. of Economics ( email )

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