OPEC Secretary General brings OPEC perspective to World Economic Forum talks

Vienna, Austria, 26 January 2017--The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary General, HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, took part in a series of sessions and high-level policy interactions at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, held from 17-20 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. He seized the opportunity to share OPEC’s extensive efforts undertaken during 2016 with the objective of advancing rebalancing of the oil market, and discussed the Organization’s perspective on short- and long-term oil market developments.

HE Mr. Barkindo expounded upon the landmark achievements of OPEC — in particular the historical decision reached at the 170th Extraordinary Ministerial Conference in Algiers and the OPEC 171st Ministerial Conference Decision, as well as the Declaration of Cooperation with non-OPEC countries — along with their implementation and current status.

The WEF, as an influential and well-established international meeting, presented a timely opportunity to share OPEC views at the top policy level with key stakeholders, and the OPEC Secretary General’s contributions were recognized and highly commended throughout the sessions. HE Mr. Barkindo actively participated in a number of sessions and met with senior officials, ministers and industry leaders in attendance at the WEF in various bilateral sessions held on the sidelines of the event. This included a meeting with Mr. Roberto Bocca, WEF Head of Energy Industries and Member of the Executive Committee, to look into the potential for closer collaboration between OPEC and the WEF. Notably, the OPEC Secretary General participated in the Energy System Security and Resilience Dinner on 18 January, along with Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Fatih Birol and other prominent personalities.

The panel discussed which geopolitical developments are expected to have the strongest and longest-lasting impact on energy systems, how stakeholders should react to these developments and what the international community can do to help improve energy system resilience. HE Mr. Barkindo expressed how the low oil price environment has pressured capital expenditure in exploration and production, with global upstream spending falling in 2015 and 2016. He added the Cooperation forged by OPEC and non-OPEC have even out and improved overall sentiment on market prospects, supported conditions for world economic growth and ultimately contributed to sustainable market stability.

Moreover, Mr. Barkindo discussed the OPEC perspective on oil market developments in 2017, sharing the most recent OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report forecasts, and highlighted the key takeaways of the 10th edition of the OPEC World Oil Outlook, including uncertainties and challenges going forward.

The OPEC Secretary General was also present at a roundtable discussion on Governors Policy Meeting for Oil and Gas, held on 19 January, which included Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway.

The roundtable considered how many industry market features that have been defined for years are being revisited and the potential effects of this on fundamental relationships between host governments and the industry, public-private collaborations in obtaining the goals set by the Paris Agreement, and how the oil and gas industry can support governments in achieving growth ambitions along with other Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) objectives.

The Shaping the Future of Energy: Stewardship Board Meeting held on 19 January highlighted the WEF’s System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Energy. HE Mr. Barkindo put forward his opinions on recent significant transformations in the world’s energy systems, which he considers to be driven by a blend of innovation, major changes in policy and investments and changing consumer demands. Talks were aimed at uncovering the most important strategic issues shaping the future of energy, the areas of public-private collaboration where the System Initiative can have the greatest impact, along with strategic opportunities for collaboration with other initiatives and institutions.

The OPEC Secretary General also participated in several in-depth media interviews throughout the event. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, he lauded the “tremendous efforts” being made by all 24 participants of the Declaration of Cooperation, who agreed on 10 December 2016 to restore and maintain stable oil markets through an OPEC and non-OPEC production adjustment effective from 1st January 2017.

HE Mr. Barkindo told Reuters that we are already seeing production adjustment from high levels. Our eyes will continue to focus on the level of adjustment.

The OPEC Secretary General told Sputnik: "The coming together for the first time in history of 24 producing countries on December 10 in Vienna has, in our opinion, created a global platform of producers with the sole objective of ensuring stability in the oil markets in the short, medium and long term. Therefore, there is a great opportunity for all stakeholders, including the oil and gas industry, to solidify this platform and ensure that it continues to perform the stabilization role in the best interests of the industry, as well as the global economy."

The annual WEF brings together the world’s top leaders to discuss and collaborate on issues that shape global, regional and industry agendas. This year’s event, the 47th annual meeting, was held under the theme ‘Responsive and Responsible Leadership’. OPEC last participated in the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting back in January 2015.

HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, at the WEF

HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, at the WEF

HE Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General (l) with Dr. Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director

HE Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General (l) with Dr. Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director