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13

OPEC bulletin 3–4/17

H

ouston has long been called the epicentre

of the global energy industry. The city was

among the greatest beneficiaries of the ‘Texas

oil boom’ that occurred during the early 20th century fol-

lowing the discovery of a large petroleum reserve near

Beaumont. It led to the Houston area becoming home to

the largest concentration of refineries and petrochemi-

cal plants in the world, and the city’s fortunes have been

entwined with the energy and oil industry ever since.

Today, it is home to more than 5,000 energy-re-

lated businesses, the headquarters of more than 500

exploration and production companies and 150 pipe-

line transportation operators, and a hub and incubator

for a variety of innovative technological and engineering

advancements.

On arriving in Houston it can appear that everyone

has a view on the oil and energy business — from the

taxi driver taking us to the Hilton Americas hotel in down-

town Houston, to the concierge delivering our bags to our

rooms, to the lady serving us coffee on our first morning.

It is evident that energy and oil are omnipresent in the

city’s economic and social fabric. The industry’s presence

permeates the city.

In terms of the oil market, what quickly becomes

apparent is the change inmood from the year previous. At

CERAWeek 2016 in February

last year there was a sense

of foreboding, with what one

commentator called “dark

clouds hanging over the

industry.”

Wi t h WT I p r i ces i n

February 2016 around $30/

barrel, there was little talk

of investment or growth with

companies continuing to suf-

fer fromoperational and finan-

cial stresses and job losses

still being made. There was

also little clear direction as to how the industry might

overcome the downturn that had begun in mid-2014,

and in turn, rebalance supply and demand.

In contrast, the sentiment at CERAWeek 2017 was

positive, driven in part by the voluntary production

adjustment decisions taken by OPEC and non-OPEC coun-

tries in Vienna on November 30 and December 10, 2017,

respectively.

CEOs and investors spoke in terms of seeing a

light at the end of a dark tunnel, with Khalid A Al-Falih,

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral

CERAWeek 2017:

Encouragement & engagement

The 2017 edition of CERAWeek, organized by IHS Markit, once again

assembled a veritable ‘who’s who’ of the global energy industry.

Now in its 36

th

year, the event is a highlight in the diary of every

energy and oil industry leader. Prime ministers, ministers, top-level

CEOs, heads of major international organizations — the list could go

on. With OPEC Secretary General,

Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo

, in

attendance, the

OPEC Bulletin’s

James Griffin

offers an overview of

the general mood at the event and provides a specific focus on the

Organization’s goal of extending its stakeholder outreach.

Mohammad Sanusi

Barkino (l), OPEC

Secretary General,

with Daniel Yergin (r),

Vice Chairman, IHS

Markit, and Chairman of

CERAWeek.