Opening Remarks to the "Offshore Technology Conference 2007"

Delivered by OPEC's Director of Research Division, Dr. Hasan M. Qabazard, Secretariat, to the OPEC-organized session "The Petroleum Industry: New Realities Ahead?" , at the Offshore Technology Conference 2007, Houston, Texas, 30 April - 3 May.

1 May 2007

Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to this OPEC-organized session at the Offshore Technology Conference 2007, titled: ‘The Petroleum Industry: New Realities Ahead’. The Conference is one of the preeminent in our industry, covering the latest and most important topics, technologies and innovations, and at OPEC we are delighted to be directly involved in putting together this session.

Today’s agenda was constructed to focus on the key challenges, the major uncertainties and the foremost opportunities we envisage in the petroleum industry going forward. And to ask the question: what are the new realities ahead? It will be interesting to see how each panellist views the market.

Turning to the panelists themselves, I am sure you will agree that we have some highly thought of energy industry experts here and I would like to thank each and every one of you for accepting our invitation. I look forward to an extremely productive and stimulating session.

So, what will be the main topics discussed? To set the scene, there will be an overview of the short- medium- and long-term prospects of the oil market and highlighting some of the challenges facing the petroleum industry. This will also outline the importance of maintaining market stability with a market well balanced between supply and demand.

Following this there will be more focused presentations on some of the most fundamental industry questions and concerns. This includes:

  • The issue of oil resources, the notion of imminent peaking and the role of above ground factors in deliverability;
  • The importance of producer-consumer dialogue and how future responsibilities for supporting oil market stability might be shared among petroleum market players;
  • The role of OPEC spare capacity in providing stability to the market, emphasizing the real concerns of possible over-expansion of capacity, and in turn the investment risk burden in OPEC Member Countries;
  • The downstream investment conundrum and the measures needed to advance investment in this sector;
  • The oil price and future investments; and,
  • Current price formation mechanisms and how they may be contributing to oil market volatility.

There is certainly plenty there to prompt much debate and I hope that everyone here will have an opportunity to express their thoughts and put questions to our panelists during the wrap up. With this in mind, allow me to leave you with a few simple questions that might be worth considering during the session.

Firstly, how do you view the market today? Secondly, what do you see as the challenges and uncertainties, as well as the opportunities, going forward? Thirdly, how do we continually improve the environmental credentials of oil? And finally, how can we further advance the producer-consumer dialogue?

Without further ado, I shall now introduce our keynote speaker, Mr Fuad Al-Zayer, head of OPEC’s Data Services Division, who will provide a petroleum market overview, Mr Al-Zayer, the floor is yours.

Thank you for your attention.