Remarks by the President of the OPEC Conference

Delivered by HE Mohamed Arkab, Algeria’s Minister of Energy and President of the OPEC Conference 2020, at the 11th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, 6 June 2020, via videoconference.

Your Highness, Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

Allow me to begin by offering my condolences and those of Algeria to the family of our colleague and dear friend, Mr. Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, as well as to the delegation of IR Iran and all who mourn his tragic passing. While we are saddened greatly by his untimely passing, we take comfort from the rich legacy of devotion to service and technical expertise that he leaves behind.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Future historians may describe the last month of April as ‘Black April,’.Global lockdowns, closed borders and social distancing caused global economic contraction, reduced mobility, and led as a consequence to an unprecedented demand destruction. Coupled with large supplies, this resulted in a sharp increase of global petroleum stocks.  

In stark contrast, the month of May has been much more hopeful for our industry. Supply and demand have tentatively began to realign, the market has seen less volatility and other positive developments are afoot.

With regard to demand, we are seeing some relaxation of the lockdown restrictions, the implementation of accommodative monetary policies and fiscal stimulus measures.

On the supply side, production adjustments have become operational as of 1 May. Furthermore, several countries have also revealed additional voluntary adjustments for June. This is an act of responsibility, for which we are grateful . We encourage all participating countries to fulfil their commitments. The recovery we have seen has been gradual and is extremely fragile. We need renewed commitment to see its full realization.

I would like to conclude by paying tribute to HRH Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Salman, Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia, who has done an exemplary job in forging consensus,  and rallying support for our cause.

HE Alexander Novak, has continued to act as the critical link between OPEC and non-OPEC, steering the group through his dignified leadership and commitment to duty. We are extremely grateful for this.

And of course, we remain very appreciative to HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General and all the staff at the OPEC Secretariat. They too have altered their working methods during the lockdown in Austria, however, there has been no change to the level of service excellence we have come to expect of them, despite the challenging circumstances.

Allow me to conclude by emphasising that although the COVID-19 pandemic is a terrible human tragedy; some hope may stem from this experience. As we have seen, it is only if the nations of the world come together and act as one to surmount global challenges, can future crises be avoided.  This belief has guided our Organization for the last sixty years and will undoubtedly guide us for sixty more, on Allah’s will.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Algeria’s delegation, headed by HE Mohamed Arkab, Minister of Energy and President of the OPEC Conference

Algeria’s delegation, headed by HE Mohamed Arkab, Minister of Energy and President of the OPEC Conference