Opening address to the 146th (Extraordinary) Meeting of the OPEC Conference

No 13/2007
Abu Dhabi, UAE
05 Dec 2007

by HE Mohamed Bin Dhaen Al Hamli, Minister of Energy of the United Arab Emirates and President of the Conference

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour for me to welcome you to Abu Dhabi, for the 146th (Extraordinary) Meeting of the OPEC Conference at a time when the United Arab Emirates is celebrating the 36th National day commemorating the creation of the United Arab Emirates Federation. Convening the OPEC Conference in Abu Dhabi for the first time in 29 years has coincided with this auspicious occasion.

At this Conference, we have the privilege of welcoming back the Delegation of the Republic of Ecuador, which is rejoining the Organization after an absence of a decade and a half. The Delegation is headed by His Excellency Engineer Guillermo Granja, Undersecretary of Hydrocarbons representing HE Galo Chiriboga Ecuador`s Minister of Mines and Petroleum.

We would also like to extend a special welcome to the distinguished Observers from non-OPEC oil-producing countries — His Excellency Eng. Sameh Fahmy, the Minister of Petroleum of Egypt , His Excellency Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Rumhy, the Minister of Oil and Gas of Oman, His Excellency Anatoly Yanovskiy, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Energy of the Russian Federation, His Excellency Dr Awad Ahmed El Jazz, the Minister of Energy and Mining of Sudan, and His Excellency Eng. Sufian Al-Alao, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Syria.

Their presence in Abu Dhabi today is an unequivocal reaffirmation that the interests of the oil industry are indivisible and can be served well by genuine collaboration to bring about a stable, secure and well-supplied market. We welcome their support and the opportunity to work together for the common good of all.

As we gather for this Conference, the oil market fundamentals are sound, and recent draw-downs in the OECD crude stocks have minimised the excessive overhangs that existed at the beginning of the year, bringing present stocks above the five-year average. In spite of all these positive factors, the market continues to be affected by price volatility.

The widespread perception of current market tightness and the fear of future shortages appear to have fuelled increasing speculation in the futures market. In addition, continuing geopolitical tensions in some oil-producing regions and downstream bottlenecks have also had an impact on the market.

The persistent volatility remains a matter of much concern to OPEC. In light of this volatility, it is important to restate clearly that OPEC remains committed to a balanced, stable market, with secure uninterrupted supplies at reasonable prices acceptable to producers and consumers alike.

However, despite considerable efforts by OPEC’s Member Countries to increase spare production capacity to levels that should ensure adequate supply to the market, prices have remained near record highs. This is mainly due to increased speculation, which has detached prices from fundamentals.

At today’s meeting, the Conference will examine the market outlook very closely, to see what further steps can be taken, if any, to calm the market in an effort to return prices to sustainable levels reflecting market fundamentals.

Thank you.