Introductory Remarks by OPEC Secretary General

Delivered by HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, at the 2nd High-level Meeting of the OPEC-India Energy Dialogue, 22 May 2017, Vienna, Austria.


Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning.

On behalf of the OPEC Secretariat, I would like to begin by welcoming HE Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, India, and his team to the OPEC Secretariat for today’s second High-level meeting of the OPEC–India Energy Dialogue.

It is a great pleasure for our Organization to repay the hospitality afforded to my predecessor as Secretary General, HE Abdalla Salem El-Badri, and the OPEC delegation that were in New Delhi for the first meeting of this dialogue back in December 2015.

I can also personally recall the extremely warm welcome I received from Your Excellency when I spoke at the Petrotech conference in New Delhi in December 2016, as well as your valued support for OPEC’s oil market stabilization measures.

This morning I have also spent some time with the Minister discussing the current state of the oil and energy markets, the upcoming OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial meetings later this week in Vienna, as well as the ambitions we both have for this extremely important energy dialogue.

It is easy to appreciate the value and substance of this dialogue, particularly when looking at the ever-expanding relationship between India and OPEC’s Member Countries.

Since 2000, trade between India and OPEC has grown substantially.  India’s overall imports from OPEC Member Countries increased from just over $4 billion to a high of above $170 billion in 2012, before dropping slightly in recent years.  And in the other direction, OPEC’s total imports from India increased from just under $4 billion in 2000 to over $60 billion in 2014.

Moreover, there are a large number of Indian citizens contributing to the workforce of a number of OPEC Member countries and sending remittances back home, further adding to the close economic ties.

In terms of crude oil, India’s total imports have risen from around 1.5 mb/d in 2000 to close to 4.3 mb/d in 2016.  And close to 80% of this came from OPEC Member Countries.  In fact, in 2016 India was the fasted oil demand nation globally, with an increase of close to 340,000 b/d, or 8.3%.

India is currently the third-largest oil consumer in the world, and to support this it continues to look to expand both its upstream and downstream sectors.

Your Excellency, I recall hearing your comments from CERA Week in March this year announcing a new round of bidding for upstream and downstream investments and the encouragement you gave to existing and new players to come forward to avail the opportunities in India.  I have no doubt that OPEC Member Countries will have heard this call for investments and potential partnerships in a vibrant and expanding market like India.

I should add that in the downstream, it is clear that India is already a major producer and net exporter of refined products, with output of close to 5 mb/d.  This is something that India should be extremely proud of.

This also underscores the global interdependence of the oil industry, and by extension, the world.

The economy of India has grown steadily since the beginning of the century, and today it is the sixth-largest economy in the world measured by nominal GDP and the third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP).

Looking ahead, India will continue on its path to becoming a global economic powerhouse. It has a young, dynamic and expanding population, much like those of OPEC Member Countries, with a strong services sector, a world-renowned IT sector, which today is one of the leading global start-up hubs for technology companies, and a solid manufacturing base.

In OPEC’s World Oil Outlook, we estimate that India’s economy will grow at an average annual rate of 6.9% for the period 2015-2040.  Real GDP is expected to surpass OECD Europe by 2034, and by 2040, it is anticipated to be about the same size as OECD America.

Economic growth, an expanding population, as well as increasing urbanization, will clearly foster major growth in the transportation sector.  And India will no doubt continue to expand its exports of a variety of goods and services, with the growing populations of OPEC Member Countries benefitting from India’s exports and trade.

There is huge potential.  And to meet this potential will require the use of a variety of energy resources; oil, gas, coal, hydropower, nuclear and renewables.  I know from my talks with the Minister that India values a diverse energy mix.

From the perspective of oil, demand growth will increasingly shift to India.  By 2040, India’s oil demand is anticipated to increase by over 150%, from around 4 mb/d presently to 10.1 mb/d by then.  Its total share of global oil demand will rise from 4%, to over 9% by 2040.

With OPEC home to over 80 per cent of the world’s proven crude oil reserves, and with many of its Member Countries well-positioned for exports to India, it is clear that this relationship will expand further.

Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,

Given that this is the week of the OPEC Ministerial meeting, as well as the one between OPEC and some non-OPEC nations, I feel it is appropriate to highlight how the landmark decisions taken last year are helping rebalance the market, and how important they are to the sustainable stability we all desire to help secure our long-term energy future.

The historic decisions taken at the 170th (Extraordinary) Meeting of the OPEC Conference in Algiers, on September 28, 2016, the 171st Ministerial Conference in Vienna on November 30, 2016, and the Declaration of Cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Vienna on December 10, 2016 were undertaken with commitment, courage and compromise.

The voluntary production adjustments of the 24 producing nations represented in these decisions were focused on the urgent need to stimulate the acceleration of the drawdown of the stock overhang, bring the market rebalancing forward and ensure that much needed confidence and investments return to the industry.

Support for these decisions came not only from producers, but consumers too.  It was evident that there was a broad international recognition about the strategic urgency of restoring sustainable oil market stability in a collective manner.

Since these decisions we have seen much positive sentiment return to the market, although it has been evident that there have been some blips along the way.  We need to appreciate that the market rebalancing was never going to occur in a linear fashion.  There are too many factors at play.

Nonetheless, we are heading in the right direction.

The overall level of conformity to the voluntary production adjustments from the participating OPEC and non-OPEC nations has been high.

Inventory levels are falling.  Total OECD commercial oil stocks in April fell by 12 mb, the third consecutive monthly drop.  The overall level is 253 mb above the latest five-year average, compared to 282 mb in March and 329 mb in February.

Moreover, we are also seeing numbers from industry stating that crude in floating storage has fallen by over 40 mb since the beginning of the year.

Outside of the US, we believe the global trend of destocking is broadly on track.  The US has evidently not been reflective of the rest of the world, given rising production there in the first quarter of 2017, but even here the market has now witnessed six consecutive weekly crude stock draws as refinery utilization has risen.

In terms of where we view this process today, to put it simply – we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

And let me reassure you that OPEC and participating non-OPEC nations remain steadfast and resolute in seeing through this market rebalancing process, in the interests of both producers and consumers, and the global economy as a whole.  It is vital in helping to ensure a stable and secure energy future.

Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,

Today’s agenda sees topics covering the short-, medium- and long-terms, potential crude and gas supply cooperation between OPEC and India, and in the technical meeting that follows this afternoon, there is a specific focus on the Asia-Pacific and India, with topics highlighting transportation and petrochemical sectors, as well as energy and climate change policies.

At OPEC, we truly value the advancement of cooperation and we believe that today’s meetings will strongly reinforce the OPEC-India Energy Dialogue.  Looking ahead, we hope to further evolve our relationship and allow us to turn ideas into concrete actions that benefit both Parties.

With that, I look forward to today’s deliberations.

Thank you for your attention.

HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, delivers his remarks at the meeting

HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, delivers his remarks at the meeting