Welcoming Address to the 6th OPEC International Seminar

Delivered by HE Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Qatar's Minister of Energy and Industry, Alternate President of the OPEC Conference, 3 June 2015, Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to Vienna’s Hofburg Palace for the 6th OPEC International Seminar, held under the theme ‘Petroleum: An Engine for Global Development’. It is the fourth time we have held the Seminar in this splendid historic building. It has certainly proven to be the perfect setting for our high-level deliberations. The OPEC Seminar allows us to examine in some detail the main issues affecting the oil industry. It also provides an important yardstick as to where we stand today in a global context.

This year actually marks a special milestone in OPEC’s close and highly valued ties with the Federal Republic of Austria and the City of Vienna … it is our golden anniversary! The Organization feels privileged to have been able to call this outstanding international city home for the past half century.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

As you all aware, the last nine months or so have been particularly challenging for the oil industry. Crude oil prices lost half their value as crude oversupply and speculation combined to upset the relative stability seen in oil markets over the previous years. It has proved to be an especially difficult time for some of the industry’s main stakeholders, resulting in huge revenue and job losses and threatening investment in future production capacity.

However, looking at the oil market today, there are a number of reasons to feel more optimistic about the general situation going forward. The global economic recovery is showing encouraging signs, oil demand is improving. Indeed, going by current trends, there should be a more balanced market in the second half of the year.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Of course, we are not out of the woods yet and we are still faced with a lot of uncertainty. That is why we must remain vigilant and keep our attention firmly fixed on the future. We know full well that the oil industry will continue to face new challenges and these will require new solutions. Fortunately, we now have the benefit of many years of experience to assist us in our endeavours. Our industry is today supported by highly trained personnel who are making the optimum use of the latest technology available to develop both conventional and non-conventional sources of petroleum.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is clear to us in OPEC that the extraordinary advances already witnessed in the 21st century require the collaboration of all the main parties associated with the global petroleum sector if we are to move forward in an efficient and orderly fashion.

OPEC’s commitment to market order and stability is unwavering. It has a long tradition of supporting collective dialogue among producers and between the producers and consumers. We have always realized that all the main players need to work together to solve the challenges facing the industry. We also need to be aware of and ready for the obstacles that are sure to arise in the future. This Seminar is part of our ongoing effort to promote dialogue and cooperation with the industry’s stakeholders from around the world.

Over the next two days you will hear presentations and debates on the main facets of the global energy scene. These will include oil market stability, production capacity and investment, technology and the environment, and prospects for the world economy. Through the lively discussions that are sure to follow, we will undoubtedly learn from one another by exchanging valuable viewpoints.

And who could be more qualified to discuss these issues than the men and women who have left their indelible mark on the industry and who continue to capably lead it today? This includes our own OPEC Ministers and Ministers from other oil-producing countries, heads of intergovernmental organizations, chief executives of national and international oil companies, industry analysts, academics and the media. The wisdom and insights from these leaders will undoubtedly enrich our discussions.

OPEC also recognizes the importance of developing new talent. For this reason, it has invited students to attend the Seminar. Through the high-level discussions, they will learn more about global energy markets and the role of oil in the world economy. We welcome these individuals who will likely carry the industry’s torch into the future.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

At this point, I should like to thank all those who have been involved in organising this event, under the overall direction of His Excellency Abdalla Salem El-Badri, OPEC Secretary General.

Thank you for your kind attention.