Strengthening the bonds of friendship and trust

OPEC Bulletin Commentary November 2018

Learning more about one another is a wonderful way to deepen friendship and trust. Thus it is that the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) meetings, under the umbrella of the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ have been frequently rotated in various participating countries, much to the excitement of those hosting the meetings.

Back when the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ was first signed in December 2016 between 24 (now 25) OPEC and non-OPEC oil producing countries, nobody estimated the massive success it would achieve in rebalancing the oil markets. Throughout the nearly two years of this process, OPEC and non-OPEC signatories to the ‘Declaration’ — as well as the rest of the world — have been able to witness a shining example of the power and impact of international cooperation.

The ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ remains a living illustration of OPEC’s dedication to a collaborative approach, centred on the principles of mutual respect, transparency and knowledge exchange. The world has become ever-more interconnected, thus the only way to overcome common challenges is through international cooperation and teamwork.

Pulling the global oil industry out of its blackest period in history, and bringing with it a rebirth of optimism and investment, the decision has had another — equally important — impact. OPEC and non-OPEC participating oil producing countries, along with new observers to OPEC Conference meetings, have had the chance to understand each other better. Aside from breaking bread and attending meetings together, they have undertaken joint technical meetings and generally had the opportunity to network. This mutual sharing of knowledge and information, along with deepening connections, will make it all the more easy to manage any future market imbalances quickly and efficiently.

The ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ represents an exciting new page turned in the industry’s history — one which will live on. To this end, OPEC’s hosting of the JMMC in different countries has had the effect of raising the profile of the meetings and allowing participants to get to know their partners on a deeper level.

The JMMC, along with the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) which supports it with technical information and data, has been essential to the success of the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’, providing a monitoring mechanism which has enabled the countries to achieve unheard-of conformity with the decision.

Every country that is a participant of the Declaration has something special to offer, and hosts get the chance to showcase themselves not only to JMMC participants, but also to the world.

So it is that the next meeting — the 11th — is to take place in Abu Dhabi, UAE on November 11, 2018, and the country is gearing up to entertain and impress its guests. As the United Arab Emirates is currently holding the rotating Presidency of the OPEC Conference, the meeting has even greater significance. Additionally, the country recently celebrated its 50th anniversary as an OPEC Member, having joined in 1967.

The country’s Minister of Energy and Industry and President of the OPEC Conference, Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, has been a regular voice over the year in the international arena, speaking on behalf of OPEC and playing a pivotal role in the ongoing ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ process. Al Mazrouei — always dedicated on a personal level to OPEC and its goals — has had the opportunity to let his remarkable attributes shine over 2018. He personifies the innovative spirit, hard work and resourcefulness which is mirrored in his countrymen, along with diplomacy, tact and statesmanship.

His unwavering commitment has contributed to unity among participants over the past year, and his remarkable technical skills and abilities have been a boon to all forums and arenas within which he has represented his country and the Organization.

The UAE’s reputation within the Organization is unblemished. It has produced two OPEC Secretary Generals, hosted four OPEC conferences, and has been represented by some of the most outstanding diplomats in the Organization’s history.

Other countries have also had the opportunity to conduct JMMC meetings over the past months, including Kuwait City, Kuwait (2nd meeting, March 26, 2017); St Petersburg, the Russian Federation (4th meeting, July 24, 2017); Muscat, the Sultanate of Oman (7th meeting, January 21, 2018); Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (8th meeting, April 20, 2018); and Algiers, Algeria (10th meeting, September 23, 2018). Each has left its own unique mark on the discussions and deliberations which have taken place.

There will no doubt be hard times to come in the oil industry: geopolitical storms, disruptive weather events, speculation, transportation issues, and the list goes on. However, the platform for dialogue created through the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ can help calm stormy waters and provide the ship that is our industry safe passage. To that end, OPEC is committed to institutionalizing the dialogue and deepening the bonds of friendship.

OPEC Bulletin November 2018

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