7th OPEC International Seminar: Building on cooperation

OPEC Bulletin Commentary May 2018

The energy world will turn its eyes to Vienna on June 20–21 for the OPEC Seminar, which will take place at the magnificent Hofburg Palace. So much has happened since the last Seminar was held in 2015, that this year’s edition of the international event is sure to make for some very stimulating dialogue.

This 7th edition will be particularly special in that it is the first Seminar to be held since the historic OPEC and non-OPEC ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ was signed on December 10, 2016. This achievement has brought a strong international focus to OPEC, marking it as an institution which continues to take its mission to strive for oil market stability seriously. Indeed, the Organization has been ‘midwife’ to a collaborative decision among producers that before was never thought possible — and which is unprecedented.

With markets growing in complexity, the need for broader cooperation is more important than ever before. Thus, this year’s OPEC Seminar will provide a unique platform for enhancing cooperation, while also engaging in open discussions.

Additionally, the theme ‘Petroleum — cooperation for a sustainable future’ is certainly fitting, given today’s emphasis on major global challenges such as sustainable development, the environment and energy poverty. In addition, the ‘energy transition’ — which was already a topic much debated at the biennial International Energy Forum meeting in New Delhi, India, in April of this year — will be the subject of much discussion. Understanding oil’s position in this rapidly changing landscape is important — and it is sure to remain a topic of conversation for many years to come.

More than 800 key players and decision makers will be on hand at this year’s Seminar, including many ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC countries. More than 100 high-level speakers and panelists — including captains of industry, officials from energy and oil ministries, executives from international oil companies and financial firms, along with representatives from international organizations and research institutions — will give presentations.

The OPEC Seminar is divided into five sessions, covering a range of topics. These include energy cooperation, technology breakthroughs, the energy transition, investment in the oil industry and world economy and the future of oil.

The event is sure to provide fresh insights into key petroleum industry issues and challenges, and is likely to enhance existing channels of dialogue and cooperation — while also stimulating new ones.

All this will take place in the Hofburg, the former imperial residence of the Habsburg dynasty, whose original structure dates back to the 13th century. After serving as the home to some of the most important people in Austrian and European history over the centuries, the elegant venue will host the OPEC Seminar for the fifth time.

Until 1918, the extensive complex was the political centre of the monarchy, and today fulfils the same role for the Republic of Austria. Inside its walls, Emperor Joseph II once drew up his revolutionary programme of reforms, the Congress of Vienna met and Emperor Franz Josef hosted audiences. Today, the offices of the Federal President are located there.

OPEC also recently celebrated Vienna as host to 100 meetings of the OPEC Ministerial Conference, as well as the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ and other important OPEC events. The city has provided an environment that has allowed OPEC — and several other international organizations — to work and prosper, and is regularly voted the most ‘livable’ city in the world.

Along with the Hofburg, Vienna itself has an amazing history — having gone from being an imperial city, to the seat of the Holy Roman Empire, to capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and finally to its most recent incarnation as capital of Austria, born out of World War II as a republic. The city’s art, culture and music inspire millions worldwide.

We hope that the beauty and inspirational spirit of Vienna, and its fame as a home to many international organizations, as well as multitudes of cooperative decisions and debates in various international arenas will infuse this year’s Seminar.

The 7th OPEC Seminar will — in the spirit of the city — facilitate discussions among industry leaders on mapping future cooperation. What is clear is that ongoing vigilance regarding market indicators is required, as well as quick and collective responses.

The OPEC Seminar thus will serve to reinforce OPEC’s longstanding commitment to strive towards a secure and stable market in support of a healthy global economy. It will emphasize the need for continuing promotion of cooperation and dialogue among all oil industry stakeholders — including producers and consumers — for the long-term benefit of the industry and the global economy.

OPEC Bulletin May 2018

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