Opening Remarks to the 6th JODI Conference

Delivered by Mr. Fuad A. Al-Zayer, Head, Data Services Department at the OPEC Secretariat & Head of OPEC Delegation to the 6th JODI (Joint Oil Data Initiative) Conference, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 25-26 November 2006

Your Excellency Mr. Ali Naimi,
Ambassador Walther,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to thank the International Energy Forum and its Secretary General, Ambassador Arne Walther, for the invitation to OPEC to speak at this 6th Joint Oil Data Initiative Conference.

It truly gives me pleasure and pride to be with you today.

It is incredible to think that the 6th JODI Conference is already upon us. In fact, it is hard to believe that as many as 15 years have passed since the first meeting of what has become known as the IEF, was held in Paris.

The achievements of both in a relatively short period of time are remarkable. For anyone coming new to the industry, it might be presumed that JODI has been in existence for much longer than it has.

Its success in continually enhancing the transparency and the flow of information within the industry should be lauded by us all. As for the IEF, it has raised producer-consumer dialogue to new heights, giving it an authority and a presence that have exceeded many people’s expectations.

What is interesting is that it is very easy to take the activities of both the IEF and JODI for granted; a sure sign that they are considered integral to the global energy industry.

I would like to take this opportunity to praise the dedication and commitment of the various stakeholders and stress that OPEC sees the IEF and JODI as vital to the efficiency and effectiveness of our industry in the 21st century.

OPEC is proud to have been closely associated with the IEF from its humble beginnings and to have played a significant part in the development of JODI. We are also pleased that its permanent headquarters are located in an OPEC Member Country, and this, in turn, is symbolic of the importance we attach to dialogue and cooperation within the industry.

Please allow me first to return to the core theme of this conference: JODI. As many of you will remember, the Joint Oil Data Initiative was born out of the 8th IEF Meeting in Osaka in 2002. This eventually led to the seven international organizations behind this initiative opening the JODI World Database on the occasion of the inauguration of the IEF Secretariat just over a year ago.

This broad collection of responsible international organizations underscores the scope of the initiative. The term ‘World’ is not something we use lightly, but here we have a meeting of ‘World’ bodies focused on advancing the transparency and flows of global energy market data. As I am sure we all appreciate, any initiative on this scale is evolutionary, with continual improvements and updates part and parcel of the process.

The decision to open the JODI World Database this time last year was a bold one.

But, we feel that its development and the advancements in transparency since – set alongside actions to further strengthen the reporting expertise in countries and raise political awareness – has proved that the decision was the right one indeed.

We all realize that challenges remain – for example, expanding the number of countries taking part, reducing the delay in data submissions and further enhancing data quality.

OPEC, and I am sure all participating organizations, are committed to these objectives. It is important that JODI continually raises the industry bar with regards to data transparency, harmonization, quality and timeliness, and at the same time helps strengthen producer-consumer dialogue.

It is this final point I would like to conclude with. OPEC very much believes that enhanced international dialogue and cooperation gives the oil industry the best platform and advantages from which to collectively address current and future market challenges and opportunities.

To this end OPEC continues to devote much effort in this direction, with dialogue now being widened and deepened in an open, constructive and transparent industry. The most recent result of this was the establishment, last year, of energy dialogues between OPEC and, the EU, as well as with China, and Russia, and many other stakeholders.

The goal, and one OPEC very much adheres too, is a secure, stable and orderly market; a market where supply and demand are balanced and the necessary levels of investment, as well as prices, are acceptable to producers and consumers alike.

The focus must be on understanding the needs of each stakeholder and viewing the entire energy market holistically as it needs to be recognised that neither the public, or the private sector, or any one country, region nor organization can act alone. Global challenges require a global commitment.

The JODI community is demonstrating that these global challenges can be met head-on and have shown that the producer-consumer dialogue is not just about talk, it is about direct action.

Let me stress that you have OPEC’s full support and we hope that the JODI initiative will continue to go from strength-to-strength in harmonizing global energy statistics and enhancing dialogue.

Thank you.