Work goes on as temperatures soar to new heights

OPEC Bulletin Commentary August 2013

The weather’s been very much on people’s minds at the OPEC Secretariat in Vienna.

Early August witnessed record temperatures which, by all accounts, just failed to reach an unheard-of 40° C for the Austrian capital.

Even for those many staff members who come from countries accustomed to such temperatures — and, indeed, higher — the pace of life took a notable downward turn when they left the air-conditioned ambience of the Organization’s headquarters building. This excessively hot period coincided too with the final stages of the holy month of Ramadan.

For most people in this part of the world, the summer months as a whole have been a time of holidays for the family, detachment from the ups and downs of everyday life, reflection upon the events of the past, and reinvigoration of the spirit, the energy and drive to meet the challenges of the future.

Work still goes on in earnest at the Secretariat, of course, and the feature articles in the July and August issues of the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report remind us of the endlessly absorbing, restless, evolving nature of the international oil market with its time-honoured capacity for both shock and surprise.

July’s feature (covered in the last OPEC Bulletin) assessed the oil market outlook for 2014, concluding that incremental oil demand next year would be less than the expected increase in non-OPEC supply and OPEC natural gas liquids. At the same time, however, the feature added that there were significant risk factors across the projections, regarding global economic growth, world oil demand and non-OPEC supply.

The August feature went in a different direction altogether, highlighting the unusually large changes in the price spread between the two key crude oil price markers, West Texas Intermediate and North Sea Brent, over the past two-to-three years, as can be seen inside on page 47.

As we come to the end of the summer holiday season and the temperatures most likely settle on a downward path, it is issues such as these that will occupy the minds of energy experts and decision-makers in our Organization and further afield, as we seek to achieve order and stability in the oil market and across the industry at large.

This is, after all, OPEC’s self-assigned mandate and one which will benefit from the period of relaxation, reflection and reinvigoration that this time of the year brings us — despite the record temperatures, or perhaps even because of them!

OPEC Bulletin August 2013

Download document