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19 Jan 2021

Secretary General participates in Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum discussion

Vienna, Austria, 19 January 2021--OPEC’s Secretary General, HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, participated in the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum via videoconference.

The forum is taking place under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, from 19 to 22 January 2021. Now in its fifth year, the event is focusing on the post-COVID-19 energy system, the energy transition and other emerging trends in the energy sector.

In the ‘2021 Global Energy Agenda’ session, the Secretary General praised the achievements of the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ (DoC) and highlighted its role in supporting oil market stability to the benefit of producers, consumers and the world economy at large.

“Our target remains stable oil markets, and to ensure that we have stability on a sustainable basis, we need to flexible and adaptable,” he told the panel.

DoC participating countries agreed at their 13th Ministerial Meeting on 5 January 2021 to meet on a monthly basis “to ensure that we do not allow this market imbalance to re-emerge,” the Secretary General said. “We all agree that the recovery is fragile, there are still uncertainties. But we are cautiously optimistic that the recovery will materialize this year.”

He added that the OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting will reconvene in March “to take stock and examine oil market conditions and developments.”

The Secretary General reiterated the need to remain vigilant and adaptable to changes in the economy and oil market in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 uncertainties.

“I want to use this opportunity to assure consumer countries that we have their interests in mind.  Our role is to assist the market to return to stability,” the Secretary General said.

He highlighted the effective relations with the United States and noted that OPEC’s cooperation with US independent oil producers has grown over the years. He also pointed out the important US contribution to international efforts in April 2020 to help mitigate the devastating impact of the pandemic on the oil market.

“We congratulate President-elect Biden,” he said, “and we look forward to deepening our relations with the US independent producers.”

Also participating in the session were HE Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Steel; Fatih Birol, IEA’s Executive Director; Daniel Yergin, IHS Markit’s Vice Chairman and Member of the Atlantic Council Energy Advisory Group; and Mary Nichols, Former Chair of the California Air Resources Board. The discussion was moderated by CNBC’s Hadley Gamble.

In earlier sessions, HE Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, UAE’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, described the COVID-19 impact last year as “extraordinary”, adding that the efforts of the DoC countries have helped mitigate the pandemic’s impact on the oil market. “We see this year as the year of recovery,” he said.

The Minister also emphasized that each country should draft its own energy transition strategy based on the available national resources.

HE Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and CEO of ADNOC, commended the positive role of the Emirati leadership in helping to stabilize the global oil market. “We have always made positive contributions to help address global challenges,” he said, adding, “The challenge of climate change is no difference.”

“Partnership, not just between countries but between industries, including oil and gas, is crucial to reach our collective objective” to address climate change. “The world will still rely on oil and gas for decades to come, so this industry can and must play a role in the transition to a low-carbon future.”

The forum represents part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.