Opening remarks by OPEC Secretary General

Delivered by HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, at the 22nd GECF Ministerial Meeting, 12 November 2020, via videoconference.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon. It is an honour to take part in this 22nd Ministerial Meeting of the GECF, which is being graciously hosted by the Algerian Government, under the capable leadership of His Excellency, Abdelmadjid Attar, Minister of Energy of Algeria and 2020 OPEC President.

Excellency, I commend you for the dual leadership roles you currently hold in two of the energy world’s leading organizations – OPEC and GECF. This is a testimony, not only to your personal attributes as an industry veteran, an astute leader and a diplomat, but also speaks to the prominence of Algeria as a leading provider of the world’s precious oil and gas resources. Algeria continues to play a crucial role in the Declaration of Cooperation’s ongoing efforts to rebalance the oil market, restore economic growth and re-establish investor confidence globally.

I would also like to recognize my good comrade and colleague at the GECF, Secretary General Yury Sentyurin. Excellency, I thank you for your ongoing support in our common efforts to deepen the ties between OPEC and the GECF within the framework of the OPEC-GECF Energy Dialogue.

Just one week ago, we held our inaugural High-level Meeting, which was an overwhelming success and the result of heightened cooperation between our two organizations at both at the technical level and at the policy level.

What started as an informal discussion between myself and His Excellency Sentyurin in Moscow on the sidelines of Russian Energy Week in October 2019 has now developed into a full-fledged, robust dialogue between two very interlinked organizations.

The potential of this dialogue is unlimited, and even that much more essential now, as, together, we seek to unite with all of our industry stakeholders to combat the ongoing challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and its massive repercussions for the energy markets. We simply cannot do this alone. Thus, Excellency, we value this partnership greatly and look forward to collaborating closely with our partners at the GECF in the months and years to come.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It was an honour to take part in yesterday’s Ministerial Roundtable on Natural Gas along with many of our esteemed OPEC and non-OPEC Ministers. The session, which was moderated by Dr. Bassam Fattouh, Director of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, was both informative and far-reaching as together we sought to assess the future development of natural gas within a highly challenging energy landscape. I especially appreciated our discussions related to natural gas’ future role – whether it will be considered a “transition fuel” or a “destination fuel”. Future developments in this regard will depend on many contributing factors, however, I think we can rest assured in the fact that both oil and gas will continue to play a prominent role in accounting for more than half of the global energy mix.

I would like to highlight another important area of collaboration we have initiated with the GECF.  

This year’s OPEC World Oil Outlook 2020, for the first time, featured an expert contribution from the GECF on the subject of liquefied natural gas, entitled: ‘LNG prospects in the post-COVID-19 era’. This provided analytical insights into the very dynamic issue of LNG, adding value to this flagship publication. OPEC, in turn, looks forward to having the opportunity to contribute an oil-related feature to the GECF’s flagship publication, the Global Gas Outlook.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

We are very encouraged by this budding cooperation between OPEC and the GECF, and we believe the best is yet to come for this mutually beneficial partnership.

Allow me to leave you with the inspirational words of the great 13th century philosopher Jalaluddin Rumi who said:

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

These wise words are an antidote to today’s world, which, at times, seeks division over unity and adversity over peace.

Finally, before closing, I would like to recognize the new Minister of Energy of Russia, His Excellency, Nikolai Shulginov. Excellency, on behalf of OPEC, I extend to you our best wishes in your new role. We look forward to working closely with you to deepen the OPEC-Russia partnership. Spasibo!

Excellencies, I look forward to fruitful deliberations today.

Thank you.

HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General

HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General