Remarks by the President of the OPEC Conference at the 13th JMMC Meeting

Delivered by HE Manuel Salvador Quevedo Fernandez, Venezuela’s People's Minister of Petroleum and President of the OPEC Conference, at the 13th Meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC), 18 March 2019, Baku, Azerbaijan.

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

It is a great pleasure to be here in the beautiful city of Baku, the cradle of the oil industry that has helped fuel the current civilizations.

On behalf of the Organization, I would like to thank HE Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan and HE Parviz Shahbazov, Minister of Industry and Energy, for generously hosting the 13th Meeting of Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC).  We greatly appreciate the excellent arrangements, the warm welcome and the wonderful hospitality.

Azerbaijan has been consistent in its constructive role in evolving relations between OPEC and non-OPEC, especially in the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’.

I should also like to add here that is a great honour for Venezuela, and for me personally, to preside over the OPEC Conference in 2019.

It is currently a challenging time for my country, with Venezuela under siege from illegitimate sanctions, and an economic warfare against its people.  I hope we can count on the international community, and the support of OPEC Members and non-OPEC, to resolve these challenges through open and fair dialogue, which in turn will help return stability, and bring more solidity and growth to our oil sector.

As Conference President, I look forward to carrying on the excellent and diligent work of my recent predecessors, HE Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry & Mineral Resources and HE Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, the UAE’s Minister of Energy & Industry, who were respectively, OPEC Conference President’s in 2017 and 2018.  They both raised the bar with their outstanding performances, and we intend to continue to work with you, benefitting from your rich experiences.

We are extremely pleased to see that HE Al-Falih and HE Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation have resumed their stewardship of the JMMC in 2019.  Let me stress that we all value their resourceful leadership and extensive experience that continues to inform and drive this Committee’s valuable work.

I would also like to say it has been an honour for Venezuela to serve on the JMMC for the last two years.

We have to continue with the transparent and inclusive manner that has driven the JMMC, under the able direction of our two Chairs.

The JMMC has proven to be a collaborative, resilient and adaptable platform that has been able to help address imbalances in the market, and allow us to deliver on the objectives of the historic ‘Declaration of Cooperation’.

The OPEC Secretary General, HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, and his able Secretariat team should also be greatly appreciated for their continued great support, not only to the Organization, but to all the nations in the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’.

We also need to recognize that we are living in a fast changing world of new energy realities; one where we need to continually evolve, enhance the gravitas of OPEC and this historic cooperation, and further our outreach to all stakeholders.

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

Looking back over the past two years or so, we should be proud of our joint efforts.

Since the beginning of the historical cooperation for oil market stability in January 2017, participating countries to the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ have consistently honoured their voluntary commitments and achieved remarkable success.

However, we need to recognize the ever-evolving nature of the market, and be ready to take the necessary actions so as to continue to fully support the objectives of the ‘Declaration’.

This was evident in the unanimous decisions taken in December 2018 at the 175th Meeting of the Conference and the 5th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting to voluntary adjust production by a combined 1.2 million barrels a day throughout the first half of 2019.

It is evident that since the beginning of the year overall conformity levels to these new voluntary production adjustments have improved and are expected to further advance in the coming months.

It is vital that all participating countries remain steadfast in their focus on the full and timely implementation of the decisions taken in December 2018.

Moreover, we also need to be cognizant of how this vital ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ partnership evolves.

The basic premise of further strengthening our cooperation with our non-OPEC partners within a Charter of Cooperation between oil producing countries was unanimously “endorsed in principle” by Ministers in December.

As Conference President in 2019, I am fully focused on this Charter of Cooperation between Oil Producing Countries, fuelled by the positive spirit of equity, fairness and transparency, which will be presented to our Ministerial Conferences in April.

As we have done since the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ began at the start of 2017, we need to be flexible, adaptable and realistic.  There is no doubt that the future can see us achieve great things together, just as we have achieved great things over the past two years or so.

Thank you for your attention.

HE Manuel Salvador Quevedo Fernandez, Venezuela’s People's Minister of Petroleum, and President of the OPEC Conference

HE Manuel Salvador Quevedo Fernandez, Venezuela’s People's Minister of Petroleum, and President of the OPEC Conference

The President of the OPEC Conference for 2019 (first r), addressed the 13th meeting of the JMMC in Baku, Azerbaijan

The President of the OPEC Conference for 2019 (first r), addressed the 13th meeting of the JMMC in Baku, Azerbaijan