153rd (Extraordinary) Meeting of the OPEC Conference

No 5/2009
Vienna, Austria
28 May 2009

The 153rd (Extraordinary) Meeting of the Conference of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) convened at OPEC Headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on 28 May 2009, under the Chairmanship of its President, HE Eng. José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos, Minister of Petroleum of Angola and Head of its Delegation.

The Conference congratulated HE Dr. Chakib Khelil, Head of the Delegation of Algeria, on his recent reappointment as his Country’s Minister of Energy and Mines.

The Conference considered the report of the Ministerial Monitoring Sub-Committee, whose Members the Conference once again thanked for their much-appreciated efforts on behalf of the Organization, as well as other presentations.

Having reviewed the oil market situation, as well as the demand and supply projections for 2009, in particular the third and fourth quarters, as presented by the Secretary General, the Conference observed that the severe and broad impact of the ongoing global economic downturn, precipitated by the financial crisis, has led to a weakness in global oil demand, which is likely to remain for some time. Indeed, since the second half of 2008, world oil demand growth has witnessed its first decline since the early 1980s.

While pleased to observe the positive effect that OPEC’s production decisions, aimed at redressing the supply/demand balance, have had on restoring some degree of stability to oil prices, the Conference noted that the crude volumes entering the market are still in excess of actual demand and that, although crude inventories have fallen over the preceding two months, stocks remain high (end-April 2009 OECD commercial oil inventories are standing close to the record high witnessed in February 1998). Moreover, very importantly, it was considered inadvisable to ignore the impact of the fall in crude oil prices witnessed over the preceding 12 months, coupled with the abiding price volatility, on the ability of oil producers to continue to make the investments required to guarantee adequate energy supplies in the medium-to-long term, given the cost of adding new capacity.

Although some recent positive economic indicators point towards the possibility of the recession bottoming-out before year-end, the world is nevertheless still faced with weak industrial production, shrinking world trade and high unemployment: for this reason, the Conference decided to maintain current production levels unchanged for the time being. In taking this decision, Member Countries reiterated their firm commitment to the individually agreed production allocations, as well as their readiness to respond swiftly to any developments which might place oil market stability and their interests in jeopardy. The Secretariat will continue to closely monitor the market, keeping Member Countries abreast of developments as these occur, and the situation will be reviewed at the next Ordinary Meeting of the Conference, scheduled to take place at OPEC Headquarters in Vienna, on 9 September 2009.

In taking the above decision, the Heads of Delegation reiterated OPEC’s statutory commitment to providing an economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations, while, at the same time, stabilizing the market and realizing the Organization’s objective of maintaining crude oil prices at fair and equitable levels, for the future well-being of the market and the good of producers and consumers alike.

The Conference again expressed its appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Austria and the authorities of the City of Vienna for their warm hospitality and the excellent arrangements made for the Meeting.