Opening address to the 165th Meeting of the OPEC Conference

No 2/2014
Vienna, Austria
11 Jun 2014

by HE Omar Ali ElShakmak, Acting Minister of Oil and Gas of Libya and President of the OPEC Conference

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure this morning to welcome you all to Vienna for the 165th Meeting of the OPEC Conference, and to extend a special welcome to His Excellency Dr Ali Saleh Al-Omair, the new Minister of Oil of Kuwait, who is attending a Meeting of the Conference for the first time as Head of his Country’s Delegation, just as I am.

On behalf of all Heads of Delegation, I would also like to extend a sincere thanks to our predecessors in office for their valuable contributions to the work of this Organization and wish them success and happiness in the future. They are: His Excellency Mustafa Jassim Mohammad Al-Shamali of Kuwait and His Excellency Dr Abdel Bari Ali Al-Arousi of Libya.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It has now been just over six months since the Conference last convened here in Vienna to discuss the situation in the oil market. At that time, we witnessed improving stability in the oil market, resulting from an upturn in the world economy. Since then, this trend has generally continued. The United States has achieved an overall positive performance despite a sluggish start to the year due to a cold-snap-related slowdown. The Eurozone has returned to modest growth after struggling through a recession that lasted a year and a half. Finally, Japan’s economy has benefited from the government’s stimulus programme.

In the emerging and developing economies, there has been some deceleration so far this year. India has continued to recover from last year’s slowdown, but Russia, China and Brazil have experienced slower output for a variety of reasons.

Considering this backdrop, global economic growth in 2014 is projected to increase to 3.4 per cent from 2.9 per cent in 2013.

Mirroring this positive economic outlook, world oil demand is expected to grow by 1.1 mb/d to average 91.2 mb/d in 2014. The bulk of this growth is expected to come from non-OECD countries.

Non-OPEC oil supply is also anticipated to rise this year by 1.4 mb/d to reach 55.58 mb/d. This growth will mainly come from North America and Brazil, while Norway, the UK and Mexico are expected to decline.

Moving to oil prices, the OPEC Reference Basket has remained fairly stable over the last two years or so, with annual averages ranging between roughly $105 and $110 per barrel. In the past half-year, the Basket has averaged above $104 per barrel from January to May. This is a level that is acceptable to both producers and consumers.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

These numbers make it clear that the oil market is stable and balanced, with adequate supply meeting the steady growth in demand. However, OPEC will, as always, continue to monitor oil market developments closely in the months to come.

At today’s meeting, we will examine these important issues closely and consider the market outlook for the rest of 2014 and beyond. As always, our deliberations will be focused on how to maintain market stability. This stability benefits all stakeholders and contributes to global economic growth.

To achieve this, though, OPEC cannot stand alone. It will need the support and contribution of many stakeholders, who must do their part. Dialogue and collaboration with consumers, non-OPEC producers, oil companies and investors are essential. OPEC’s participation at last month’s 14th International Energy Forum in Moscow and at the upcoming 11th OPEC-EU Ministerial Meeting are good examples of how we can work together to achieve our common goals.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for your attention.