Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) began to assert itself in the early 1970s, after the international oil companies lowered the price of oil without even consulting the oil exporting nations. OPEC is a group of countries that have, for an undefined period of time, found it in their interest to form a cartel based on the price of Saudi light oil. As for the image of OPEC as the champion of the poor countries, it should be pointed out that its members have taken more from their fellow developing countries in oil revenue than they have returned in assistance. The OPEC countries officially climbed aboard this bandwagon in March 1975 at a summit conference in Algeria. The OPEC countries will also continue to seek to extend their control over the oil industry "downstream" through refining, petrochemicals, shipping, and marketing.