Opening Address by the President of the OPEC Conference

Delivered by HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, and President of the OPEC Conference, at the 2nd OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, 25 May 2017, Vienna, Austria.


Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen: Good afternoon.  I would like to begin by welcoming you all to the OPEC Secretariat for the 2nd OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting.

This is another landmark meeting and we are truly pleased to see Ministers and other Heads of Delegation from non-OPEC producing countries joining us.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

You will recall that our first historical joint meeting was held last December, and was co-chaired by my dear friend, His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry of Qatar.  He was joined by another good friend, His Excellency Alexander Novak, Oil Minister of the Russian Federation, who also kindly agreed to serve as co-chair today.

That meeting produced the landmark Declaration of Cooperation and followed an OPEC Conference decision reached some two months earlier in Algiers, which took place at a challenging time when the market was impacted by a large inventory overhang.

Our joint Declaration in December was welcomed by the market and, in my view, has played an important role in moving the market toward stability.  In the absence of the agreement, the markets would have remained aimless.

You will recall that a Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee and a Technical Committee, both with representatives from OPEC and non-OPEC countries, were also established to more effectively implement the agreement and achieve concrete results.

These support bodies have continuously examined oil market data and production levels by signatory countries. In doing so, they have informed, guided and enhanced the work intended by the countries who are signatories to the Declaration.  The results of their work are in front of all to see, and I would like to thank all those involved for their contributions.

The goal of accelerating rebalancing has been partially achieved and the market in my opinion is on its way to full recovery.  The drawdown of inventories has clearly begun and I expect this trend to accelerate as we enter the high demand season and continue our high conformity levels.

However, to bring the inventories to the average trend of the last five years, more time is needed.

In fact, the most important task at this meeting is to consider the extension of the supply agreement to ensure that we bring inventories to the targeted levels, and thus achieve sustained market stability.  The entire world is watching our gathering with great anticipation.

Our delegates and representatives have shown great commitment, admirable flexibility and an understanding of the importance of compromise, and therefore we look forward to further successful collaboration as we consider how to maintain and strengthen current efforts.

We are also determined to deepen the institutionalization of the framework for cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC countries, which can help to improve our common adaptation to future market cycles.  The oil industry is cyclical by nature, but with regular interactions at both the policy and technical levels, and by working together toward common goals, we can help promote healthy markets. This would be beneficial not only to our respective countries but to the entire petroleum industry, and indeed to consumers and the global economy as a whole. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have an exceptional opportunity to further strengthen the foundation of cooperation between both OPEC and non-OPEC, and to build more robust mechanisms to collaborate for the benefit of all.  I look forward to working with each of you to realize these opportunities today and in the future.

Thank you for your attention this afternoon.

HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, and President of the OPEC Conference

HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, and President of the OPEC Conference

HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources and President of the OPEC Conference (c); HE Alexander Novak, Russia's Minister of Energy (l); and HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General

HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources and President of the OPEC Conference (c); HE Alexander Novak, Russia's Minister of Energy (l); and HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General