OPEC Conference President meets Austrian Federal Minister of Economics & Labour

No 4/2006
Vienna, Austria
01 Feb 2006

OPEC Conference President and Secretary General, Dr Edmund Maduabebe Daukoru, met with Austria’s Federal Minister of Economics and Labour, Dr Martin Bartenstein, in Vienna this morning.

The meeting, described as a continuation of the EU-OPEC Energy Dialogue, is the first to take place between the two sides since Austria assumed the Presidency of the European Union on 1 January 2006 and Dr Daukoru, who is Minister of State for Petroleum Resources of Nigeria, took over the Presidency of the OPEC Conference on the same day.

Dr Daukoru and Dr Bartenstein reflected upon the good progress made with the EU-OPEC Energy Dialogue, following the first and second meetings held at ministerial level in Brussels on 9 June 2005 and in Vienna on 2 December 2005. They particularly emphasized the importance of the first joint roundtable held in Vienna on 21 November 2005, which looked at oil market developments and future prospects.

They reaffirmed the decision taken at the second meeting of the EU-OPEC Energy Dialogue in December to hold the third round of the ministerial talks in Brussels in June 2006, with a view to institutionalizing annual meetings at this level.

In his meeting with Dr Daukoru, Dr Bartenstein stressed that Austria would continue and intensify “this valuable dialogue” during the period of his country’s EU Presidency. “It is an honor and a pleasure for Austria to contribute to the organization of the meetings and workshops already agreed upon. Many of these will take place during Austria's six-month Presidency.”

The Dialogue is seen by the EU as being part of a broader approach to strengthen energy relationships with the main oil and gas suppliers, and by OPEC as a significant further step in its continued efforts to enhance understanding and cooperation among oil producers and consumers.

Dr Daukoru stated that he was delighted to meet with Dr Bartenstein again on the important issue of the EU-OPEC Energy Dialogue, especially in the early days of Austria’s Presidency of the EU.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Federal Republic of Austria every success as it steers the affairs of the EU during the term of its Presidency. I firmly believe that this will be of great benefit to the ongoing Dialogue, as well as contributing to the very cordial longstanding relationship that OPEC has established with its host country,” said Dr Daukoru.

He hoped the Dialogue, in the months and years ahead, would help to influence oil market stability and particularly global energy security. “Our meetings are an expression of the confidence we have in the Dialogue, as an instrument for oil market stability that will surely benefit the two sides and the global economy in general,” he stated.

At today’s meeting, Their Excellencies Dr Daukoru and Dr Bartenstein emphasized once again the importance of maintaining the Dialogue when prices are low, as well as high. Both sides recognized the importance of an effective framework enabling an exchange of views on energy issues of common interest, and the potential this has for contributing to stability, transparency and predictability in the international oil market.

While expressing concern about continued oil market volatility, they reiterated the importance of market stability and reasonable prices for both producers and consumers, for the world economy at large, and especially the economies of the developing countries. In this connection, they recognized that extreme prices, in either direction, over a sustained period were potentially damaging and, therefore, not desirable, for long-term investment commitments.

The EU-OPEC Energy Dialogue’s work programme for 2006 was discussed, in particular preparations for the ministerial talks in June, a meeting on energy technologies, which will focus on carbon capture and storage in conjunction with enhanced oil recovery, as well as a second roundtable, this time on the impact of energy policies on both demand and supply.