Opening Remarks by the President of the OPEC Conference

Delivered by HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, and President of the OPEC Conference, at the 3rd OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, 30 November 2017, Vienna, Austria.

Your Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen: Good afternoon.  It is a great pleasure to see so many nations participating in the 3rd OPEC and Non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the production agreement, I would like to thank all participants, both from OPEC and non-OPEC, for their active and productive engagement.

I would like to express my special appreciation to His Excellency Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, who is serving as my co-chair for this meeting, and whose leadership has been instrumental in launching this partnership between OPEC and non-OPEC and achieving the many important successes we have enjoyed to date.

I also want to recognize the collective efforts of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee under the able leadership of His Excellency Issam A. Almarzooq, Minister of Oil and Minister of Electricity and Water of Kuwait, and His Excellency Alexander Novak.  I would also like to thank all those involved for their contributions.

I’m also pleased to see many other non-OPEC producing countries present as observers.

We would like to warmly welcome:

His Excellency Parviz Shahbazov of Azerbaijan;
Dr. Ahmed Al-Sharyan of Bahrain;
His Excellency Luis Alberto Sanchez Fernández from Bolivia;
His Excellency Pehin Datu Singamanteri Kolonel Dato Seri Setia Awang from Brunei Darussalam;
His Excellency Bechir Madet of Chad;
His Excellency Jean Marc Thystere Tchicaya from Congo;
His Excellency Eng. Tarek El Molla from Egypt;
His Excellency Magzum Mirzagaliyev of Kazakhstan;
The Honorable Datuk Seri Panglima Abdul Rahman Dhalan from Malaysia;
Dr. Aldo Flores-Quiroga from Mexico;
His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al-Rumhy of Oman;
His Excellency Alexander Novak of the Russian Federation;
His Excellency Dr. Abdel Rahman Osman Abdel Rahman of Sudan;
His Excellency Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoh of South Sudan;
Mr. Japarguly Orazov from Turkmenistan;
Her Excellency Irene Nafuna Muloni from Uganda;
Mr. Ulugbek Sayidov from Uzbekistan;
as well as His Excellency Mahaman Laouan Gaya from the African Petroleum Producers Association.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen: almost one year ago, we sat in this same conference room piecing together what has become known as the Declaration of Cooperation, and which has helped the industry recover from one of the worst petroleum market cycles we have experienced in recent history.

The Declaration of Cooperation was a landmark achievement in itself, and many thought that it would not materialize—and that if it did, it would not be effective in improving market conditions.

As you know, the agreement was designed to accelerate market rebalancing, hasten the drawdown of the stock overhang, and enhance market stability.  The results of our joint efforts are evident—and the numbers speak for themselves.

I would also like to stress that the coming together of OPEC and non-OPEC producers has made the extraordinary difference that has intensified the impact of our collective efforts and produced the improvements we’ve seen.

There is now global recognition that without our collaborative action, the market would have continued to exhibit extreme volatility and future uncertainty, with far-reaching negative consequences for producers, consumers, investors, the industry, and the global economy at large.

Looking ahead, economic performance is improving in most of the world’s leading economies.  In fact, the IMF is forecasting global growth in 2018 at 3.7 percent, while the European Commission has just stated that the EU this year is on track to grow at its fastest pace in a decade.  Oil demand growth, on the other hand, is on firm ground, and the direction of the market over the past several months shows a distinct improvement in both fundamentals and the overall market sentiment.  This gratifying outcome has resulted primarily from 100 percent—or more—compliance to the production targets by OPEC and non-OPEC producers.

Such positive developments to date show that we’re heading in the right direction—but we are still not where we want to be in terms of inventories reaching their target levels, and must remain resolutely focused on this task.  That is why we are here today.

This morning, at the Meeting of the OPEC Conference, we discussed the current oil market situation and the outlook for 2018, and deliberated on the extension of the current production agreement to continue the improving direction of the market. These issues will now be deliberated with Your Excellencies from the non-OPEC producers with us this afternoon.

As you know, dealing with the current oil market cycle and its complex challenges has required great patience, resolve and perseverance, and together our countries have shown admirable commitment.  To ensure that our hard-earned improvements are not compromised, we must continue to work in unison.

We look forward to continue working with our non-OPEC partners to build on this unparalleled global platform, going beyond the short term to look at the broader challenges and opportunities the oil industry will face in the years and decades to come.

Your Excellencies, in conclusion, let me reiterate that today’s meeting provides a tremendous opportunity to strengthen the bonds of cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC producers, and to achieve the sustained market stability we all desire.

I look forward to our discussions this afternoon, and to continue working with each and every one of you.

Thank you for your attention.

HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, and President of the OPEC Conference (l); and HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General

HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, and President of the OPEC Conference (l); and HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General