Address by OPEC Conference President

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 Anniversary Dinner, celebrating the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’, on the eve of the173rd Meeting of the OPEC Conference, and the 3rd OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, 29 November 2017, Palais Niederösterreich, Vienna, Austria.


Your Excellencies, distinguished friends and colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good evening. Welcome to Vienna.

It is a sincere pleasure to see you all here tonight, in these wonderful surroundings that say so much about the grandeur and history of this great city. The building we are in is indeed steeped in history.

This magnificent conference room was built in 1575 by Hans Saphoy, and has been used for events meetings and as a ballroom ever since. Even today, the room next door is being used for the coalition talks for the new Austrian Government. I sympathize with those who are having those discussions. Unlike us, they don’t have to think about how long the coalition should last, and how to exit!

So a great history, yet a place of the future. Very appropriate.

Tonight we are brought together by our common commitment to the stability of the oil markets and the sustained growth of the global energy industry, which in turn promotes the well-being of the global economy, strengthens energy security, and helps the well-being of our respective countries—and each of you has demonstrated an admirable dedication to those shared goals.

This evening we will mark a year of progress through collaboration, through trust and through collective responsibility.

In 2016, oil markets were aimless, the world’s economy was on the rocks, there were fears of deflation, low interest rates to negotiate and prospects for growth were low.

Although the business and market environment remains challenging, and there are still important and emerging issues which we shall take up during tomorrow’s discussions, but for sure the despair of last year has been replaced by confidence. GDP expectations for one thing, are better than at any time since the middle of the last decade and our collective efforts have contributed to this.

So, this evening, let me congratulate all of you for participating in the Declaration of Cooperation, which supports our shared goal of market – and global economic - stability. The record-high levels of conformity over the past year are the best indicator of your commitment to this common cause.

I would also like to recognize the deeper relations between OPEC’s Member Countries and the non-OPEC countries that have joined the historic decision.  I want to recognize the tireless work of my friend Alexander Novak towards this effort.

From the very beginning of consultations last year, we began to see the contours of a new working relationship emerging, which led to the forging of a new consensus. And through our subsequent interactions – particularly through the valuable work of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee – we have made steady advances towards institutionalizing OPEC and non-OPEC collaboration.

We are marking our progress to date – and celebrating the work of the 24 signatories – in various ways, including tonight’s Anniversary Dinner.  But the OPEC Secretariat has sought other forms of acknowledgement as well.

So I am very pleased to announce the publication of a “Special Edition” of the OPEC Bulletin to commemorate the Anniversary of the Declaration of Cooperation.

In addition, as a small token of appreciation for the contributions of the delegations to the global oil market, the industry, and OPEC and non-OPEC cooperation, it is an honour to present each of the heads of delegations with a unique gift: a hand-crafted gavel, made from Austrian wood by a talented Austrian craftsman. It commemorates the constructive discussions, intensive negotiations, and momentous decisions that gave birth to the Declaration of Cooperation.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.  Now, I would like to turn our attention to the great city of Vienna: the city of sophistication, culture and tradition, and OPEC’s home.

Over the centuries, Vienna has given the world some of its greatest music, art and literature.  It has also served as a crossroads of East and West, and plays a major role in world affairs as host to organizations like OPEC and OFID, as well as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the International Atomic Energy Agency and various UN agencies.

In order to show our deep appreciation to the city, we have asked the Mayor and Governor of Vienna, Dr. Michael Häupl, to honor us with his presence.

Dr. Häupl has long been a prominent figure in the city, and is widely appreciated for his public service—particularly his outstanding tenure as the Mayor and Governor of Vienna, a post which he has held since 1994.  His leadership qualities are recognized well beyond Austria, and in 2004 he was elected President of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions.

During his tenure, the city of Vienna has grown in many ways.  Dr. Häupl has overseen improvements to transportation infrastructure, the expansion of services, and an overall enhancement of living standards. Vienna is now consistently rated among the best cities in which to live, so whatever you have been doing, Mr. Mayor, it is working beautifully!

So now, I call upon the OPEC Secretary General to join me as we present the Mayor with gift, and then we will hand over to Dr Michael Häupl, who will say a few words.

Please enjoy the evening, thank you.

 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 Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation

HE Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation

HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, and President of the OPEC Conference (c); with Dr. Michael Häupl, Mayor of Vienna (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); with Dr. Michael Häupl, Mayor of Vienna (l), and HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General

Group photo of OPEC and non-OPEC officials taken during the Anniversary Dinner at Palais Niederösterreich

Group photo of OPEC and non-OPEC officials taken during the Anniversary Dinner at Palais Niederösterreich