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22

OPEC bulletin 11/17

D e c l a r a t i o n o f C o o p e r a t i o n

The Algiers Accord, which has strengthened solidarity between

Members Countries, has on the one hand, put the market on the

right track and, on the other hand, kept OPEC as a major player in

the world oil market. It was the source, the guide and the refer-

ence to all the subsequent steps that led us to the Conference of

November 30, 2016.

You played a vital role in helping push through what was agreed

in Algiers, which eventually led to the historic ‘Declaration of

Cooperation’. What do you recall of the consultations between

Algiers and the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ that was agreed on

December 10, 2016?

I knew the Algiers Accord would only have been meaningful if the

targets were achieved. After the Algiersmeeting, it was necessary to

bothmaintain the good reaction of themarkets without actual phys-

ical action being taken on the level of production for two months

and to find an agreement on the allocation of production levels

— while, at the same time, getting non-OPEC countries to join our

approach. This is just to say how daunting the task.

The establishment of a framework between OPEC Member

Countries through the High-level Committee and the framework for

consultation with non-OPEC countries was going to be the instru-

ments for the implementation of the Algiers Accord. Time was of the

essence, so we took the opportunity of the World Energy Congress

in Istanbul to hold an informal meeting of OPEC Member Countries

on October 12, 2016, and thenmeet non-OPEC countries in order to

present themwith the Algiers Accord and its roadmap. This meeting

further strengthened my conviction that we were on the right track.

At the time, Algeria had been entrusted to chair the High-level

Committee. At its first meeting in Vienna on October 28, 2016, we

had drawn up some scenarios for the allocation of the levels of

production, which we had not yet proposed. This first meeting of

the High-level Committee, which had as one of its main objectives

defining the production levels of each country, almost ended on a

negative note due to differences of opinion among some Members,

which threatened to delay the meeting with representatives of non-

OPEC countries scheduled for the following day. This situation rein-

forced the idea that Algeria had to pursue the actions it had under-

taken during the preparation of the Algiers meeting and present its

own proposal.

Thus, after an exchange with the President of the OPEC

Conference, Dr Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, and after agreeing

on a meeting with Saudi Minister, Khalid A Al-Falih, Algeria identi-

fied several promising scenarios among those it had elaborated,

including one particular proposal. During this period, in prepara-

tion for the second meeting of the High-level Committee, a meeting

was held in Algiers on November 12, 2016, with Minister Al-Falih.

It was a fruitful and very important meeting which set the stage for

the forthcoming events. It was also agreed, following an exchange

with the President of the OPEC Conference, that Algeria would pres-

ent its proposal at the informal meeting of OPEC scheduled to take

place in Doha on November 17, 2016.

At this meeting, the majority of the attending members consid-

ered that the Algerian proposal merited consideration and deserved

to be presented at the second meeting of the High-level Committee

scheduled to take place in Vienna on November 22, 2016. At the

end of this meeting, the High-level Committee decided to present

the Algerian proposal to the OPEC Conference on November 30,

with reservations from some countries. In order to further explain

the Algerian proposal, I visited Tehran on November 26 and, as with

every meeting with IR Iran’s Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, the

exchanges were very constructive and promising.

In addition to the visits by the Secretary General of OPEC, it is

also worth recalling the various visits, meetings and talks under-

taken by Ministers Al-Falih and Del Pino with OPEC and non-OPEC

member countries. I myself had initially planned to visit Iraq tomeet

with Minister Al-Luiebi. However, due to an extremely tight sched-

ule, we were only able to meet in Vienna on the eve of the OPEC

Conference. Meanwhile, following a consultation with Venezuela’s

Minister Del Pino at which we both agreed to a meeting in Algiers

on November 28, from which we then headed on November 29

straight to Moscow to meet with Minister Novak who reassured

us of Russia’s decision to join the agreement to adjust oil produc-

tion — provided that OPEC reached an agreement between its own

members.

At the end of the meeting with Minister Novak, we headed

directly to the airport to travel to Vienna. Upon my arrival, consulta-

tions were held or continued with the oil ministers of Saudi Arabia,

the United Arab Emirates, Ecuador, Kuwait, Iraq, IR Iran, Qatar and

Venezuela. These consultations concluded on a positive note on

November 30 ,2016, shortly after midnight. I could then sleep with

the conviction that OPEC would most likely arrive at a decision in

accordance with the recommendations of the Algiers Accord.

The decisions taken by the OPEC Conference paved the way to

the OPEC/non-OPEC conference which was held in a constructive

atmosphere and which ended with the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’

of December 10, 2016. These are some of the memories I have of

this intense period.

While the short-term oil market challenges are evidently in every-

one sights, how important is the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ to

medium- and long-term oil market prospects?

The ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ is of paramount importance. It

should be remembered that prior to the Algiers Conference in

September 2016, global economic indicators were ‘turned to red’

by the lack of investment, the very high level of oil stocks and the