Opening Address to the 125th (Extraordinary) OPEC Meeting

No 8/2003
Doha, Qatar
11 Jun 2003

by HE Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah, President of the Conference and Minister of Energy and Industry, Qatar

Your Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar,
Your Excellencies, the Sheikhs and Ministers,
Distinguished Guest and Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour — and a pleasure — to welcome you to the State of Qatar, and to host the 125th (Extraordinary) Meeting of the OPEC Conference. I would also wish to thank His Highness, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, who is deeply committed to OPEC, for honouring us with his presence and his opening speech with his vision of the mission of OPEC and its obligations in today’s changing world.

Even though the State of Qatar was the first non-Founder Member to join OPEC, after its establishment, this is only the third occasion on which we have had the pleasure of hosting an OPEC Conference; the previous two occasions were in 1969 and 1976.

Your presence in Doha on this occasion further underlines our country’s solidarity with OPEC’s objectives, decisions and actions.

However, before beginning this Meeting, I should first like to offer our deepest condolences to the Government and the people of Algeria, for the terrible suffering they have endured, as a result of the earthquake that hit the country in the middle of last month. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

The purpose of today’s Extraordinary Meeting is to monitor developments in the oil market at the half-way point between our two scheduled Ordinary Meetings of March and September. We shall review the decision taken at our Meeting of April 24, 2003, to reduce OPEC-10’s actual production by two million barrels a day from the levels that prevailed during the events in Iraq, when oil producers increased output, so as to assure consumers of steady supplies of crude during that period.

The fact that the cuts came into force on June 1, just ten days ago, means that they have had little time to work their way through the market’s supply/demand balance, even though their influence on the psychology of the market was noticed much earlier.

We have seen this reflected in the oil price trends, which have strengthened over the past months, and the market is settling down again. We are still faced with uncertainty in several key areas, however.

The pace and the extent of the return of Iraqi crude to the market remain unclear at the present time, as this country, with its proud OPEC heritage, seeks to re-establish itself on the world energy scene.

Oil inventories in industrialized countries are relatively tight for this time of the year. This may serve to support oil prices in the coming months.

The falling value of the US dollar — particularly against the euro — is a matter of concern to the global economy, as well as its negative effects on the purchasing power of our revenues.

Therefore, while some elements are clearer than when we last met in April, there are still many questions to be answered about the outlook for the oil market during the second half of this year.

We will have to examine all the relevant issues to determine whether there is a need for a review of production levels.

We welcome to this Meeting observers from many leading non-OPEC oil-exporting nations, who have so often in the past been supportive of our efforts towards a stable and fair market — Angola, Oman, Mexico, Russia and Syria. Their presence emphasizes once again the need for the co-operation of all parties in the petroleum industry — including consumers — if we are to achieve order and stability.

Harmony and understanding should prevail at all times in the oil market, to help it meet the energy needs of all nations — in a world that is increasingly aware of the importance of stable and secure energy supplies to the process of sustainable development.

I should like to conclude my comments by saying that the State of Qatar is proud to have played a part in the remarkable success of OPEC over the past four decades and that we pledge to maintain this high level of commitment.

Finally, allow me to convey on your behalf our sincere thanks and gratitude to His Highness, the Emir, for his gracious presence at our Meeting.

We wish you all a very pleasant stay in Qatar and we look forward to a successful Meeting.

Peace be with you.