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1979 world oil market chronology: Wikis


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  • January: First emergency Crude Oil Buy-Sell Program allocations.
  • January 16: Shah leaves Iran on vacation, never to return. Bakhtiar government established by the Shah to preside until unrest subsides.
  • January 20: Saudi Arabia announces drastic cut in first-quarter production. 9.5 MMBD ceiling imposed. Although actual cuts never reach announced levels, spot prices of Middle East light crudes rise 36 percent.
  • January 20: One million Iranians march in Tehran in a show of support for the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini, fundamental Muslim leader.
  • February 12: Bakhtiar resigns as prime minister of Iran after losing support of the military.
  • March 5: Iran resumes petroleum exports.
  • Spring: Gasoline shortage/world oil glut.
  • March 26: OPEC makes full 14.5 percent price increase for 1979 effective on April 1. Marker crude raised to $14.56 per barrel.
  • May: United States Department of Energy (DOE) announces $5 per barrel entitlement to importers of heating oil. Saudi Arabia announces intention to increase direct sales and to sell less through Aramco. Both announcements send prices higher.
  • June 1: Phased oil price decontrol begins. Involves gradual 28 month increase of "old" oil price ceilings, and slower rate of increase of "new" oil price ceilings.
  • June 26-28: OPEC raises prices average of 15 percent, effective July 1.
  • October: Buy-Sell Program sales average more than 400,000 B/D from October 1979 through March 1980 - highest level since February 1976, due to emergency allocations.
  • October: Canada eliminates light crude oil exports to U.S. refiners, except for those exports required by operational constraints of pipelines.
  • November 4: Iran takes western hostages.
  • November 12: U.S. President Jimmy Carter orders cessation of Iranian imports to U.S.
  • November 15: Iran cancels all contracts with U.S. oil companies.
  • December 13: Saudi Arabia raises marker crude price to $24 per barrel.
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