Remarks by OPEC Secretary General at the 11th JMMC Meeting in Abu Dhabi

Delivered by HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, at the 11th Meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC), 11 November 2018, Abu Dhabi, UAE.


Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

I would like to join the Chairman in acknowledging the students from Khalifa University who represent the bright hope of the future of our industry.

In 1987, OPEC established a committee of three Member Countries, (Venezuela, Indonesia and Nigeria) to take stock of what was then, the worst oil market downturn in history, which saw prices falling below $10/b in 1986. Our committee was also mandated to tour all Member Countries and meet with their sovereigns to benefit from their guidance on the way forward.

And it was here in Abu Dhabi that I had the honour of a lifetime, when I met with Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE.

Aside from his graciousness, humility and dignity, which were in abundance, what struck me most about Sheikh Zayed was his foresight, his discernment and how visionary he was.

On that occasion, Sheikh Zayed gave two indispensable pieces of advice. Firstly, he told us to stay the course. Keep OPEC on the trajectory it was on. The Organization plays a crucial role that benefits a diverse range of stakeholders, producers, consumers and the global economy. He urged Member Countries to retain their cohesion, despite the inevitable ups and downs which may come.

Secondly, he asked the pertinent question, why was the committee’s itinerary restricted to OPEC capitals? He recommended that we visit and engage with non-OPEC countries as well. Pausing, he added a prophetic comment, “you may need each other in the future.”

That was 31 years ago. Here we are today, convening a Committee formed as a result of the ongoing collective work of OPEC and non-OPEC to monitor conditions in the market. Sheikh Zayed’s vision lives on. The enduring capacity of cooperation among nations to surmount obstacles remains as relevant in 2018 as it was in 1987.

It is an honour to be in this great nation in this Year of Zayed, which has allowed us to re-familiarise ourselves with the wise teachings of this legend. And as I re-read many of his sagacious dictums, I found one which is extremely appropriate for the “Declaration of Cooperation” and our work today:

“We were like those who had climbed a mountain and reached the top. When we looked down, we still wanted to go higher to realise our goals. Despite all the achievements, we still have an ambition for more.”

Furthermore, I commend in the highest possible terms the co-chairmen of this committee, HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and HE Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation. The continued leadership of this innovative organ of the Declaration of Cooperation by these two gentlemen is not only critical to our successes, it also constitutes the umbilical cord between OPEC and non-OPEC. These successes have exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic of observers and enhanced the integrity of our Organization.

However, given our location, I would like to pay particular tribute to a very special gentleman who personifies the best features of the strategic partnership between OPEC and non-OPEC. This outstanding Minister, in his capacity as President of the OPEC Conference in 2018, has inspired all of us through his expert diplomacy and mastery of the craft of statesmanship. I speak of course of the illustrious Emirati, HE Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei. In addition to his extraordinary repertoire of skills, the Minister and his team have been superlative hosts for us this week, including for the prestigious ADIPEC event starting tomorrow. In the well-known and celebrated tradition of the UAE, HE Al Mazrouei remains the epitome of humility.

So once again, I’d like to thank our gracious Emirati hosts and wish everyone a successful meeting.

Thank you for your kind attention.

HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General (l); and HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry & Mineral Resources; and Chairman of the JMMC

HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General (l); and HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry & Mineral Resources; and Chairman of the JMMC

OPEC and non-OPEC officials speak to the media in Abu Dhabi, UAE

OPEC and non-OPEC officials speak to the media in Abu Dhabi, UAE