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06 Dec 2018

Opening address to the 175th Meeting of the OPEC Conference

by HE Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Industry, and President of the OPEC Conference.


Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning.

On behalf of the Heads of Delegation and the OPEC Secretariat, it is my pleasure to welcome you all to Vienna for the 175th Meeting of the OPEC Conference.

The Conference would also like to take this opportunity to offer a very warm welcome to His Excellency Thamir Abbas Ghadhban, Iraq’s new Minister of Oil and head of its OPEC delegation.

The Conference would also like to express its sincere thanks to his predecessor in office, His Excellency Jabbar Ali Hussein Al-luiebi, who diligently and attentively led his country’s delegation to OPEC since 2016.

It should also be noted that the Organization has received a letter from the State of Qatar giving notice of its intention to withdraw from its Membership of OPEC, pursuant to Article 8 of the OPEC Statute, with effect from 1 January 2019.

Every Member Country has the sovereign right to withdraw from the Organization and this requires no approval from the OPEC Conference.  The Organization respects the decision taken by the State of Qatar.

The Conference also welcomes as observers to the meeting the new Director General of OFID, HE Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, as well as the Heads of Delegation of Bahrain, the Sultanate of Oman, South Africa and South Sudan.

Excellencies, ladies and Gentlemen,

In looking back on 2018 I think we can all say it has been a positive year.

We have witnessed positive progress on removing the inventory overhang, the market has seen further rebalancing and there has been excellent collaboration between OPEC and non-OPEC participants in the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’.

I would like to acknowledge and commend the achievements of OPEC Member Countries, as well as participating non-OPEC producers in the ‘Declaration’, for their continuous efforts over the past two years to pursue a balanced, stable and sustainable global oil market. This serves the interests of consumers, producers, the industry and the global economy at large.

This is also an opportune occasion to once again thank the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC), the Joint Technical Committee (JTC), OPEC’s Economic Commission Board and the OPEC Secretariat, who have all provided valuable guidance and assistance in the effective and efficient implementation of the ‘Declaration’.

There is no doubt to date that the ‘Declaration’ has been a success, helping deliver more optimism to the market, confidence to the industry, and it has received backing from other producers, as well as from consumers, and various global institutions.

Excellencies, ladies and Gentlemen,

However, I think we can all recognize that our work is not done.

As we look forward to 2019, we see a new set of challenges. This includes the general consensus that prospects point to higher supply growth than expected global requirements and there are signs of a potential slowdown in demand.

Today, it is vital that we thoroughly examine the potential gap between supply and demand in 2019, and how this might impact inventory levels and the extremely ‘hard won’ market balance we have achieved over the past two years.

I am confident that all Member Countries will continue to work with the OPEC Secretariat and our non-OPEC partners.

We need to focus our joint efforts on maintaining the balanced market we achieved in 2018; sustaining the stability we all desire; and, ensuring that there is a firm foundation to allow the industry to make the necessary investments to continue to meet expected future oil demand.

This will require us to change the strategy we took in June 2018.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

In this regard, we need to remind ourselves of the importance of a cooperative, agile, and forward-looking OPEC, and fully appreciate the value of the joint efforts with our non-OPEC friends through the historic ‘Declaration of Cooperation’.

Experience has repeatedly shown us that the enduring principle of cooperation and the bravery to try something new, such as the ‘Declaration’, can bring about great success.

Thus, it is essential that we look to move ahead with a more permanent relationship with our non-OPEC producers, in order to continuously adapt to ongoing market dynamics, and to help meet the challenges, as well as opportunities, that we will face in the months and years ahead.

I look forward to your support in delivering the right decisions during our meeting today and your backing for a positive resolution with our non-OPEC friends on Friday.

Thank you.