Opening Statement by OPEC Conference Alternate President to the 2nd Ministerial Meeting of the EU-OPEC Energy Dialogue

by HE Dr. Edmund Maduabebe Daukoru, Alternate President of the OPEC Conference and Nigeria's Minister of State for Petroleum

Vienna, 2 December 2005

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for permitting me to deliver a few words in my capacity as Alternate President of the OPEC Conference. Expectedly, I shall have the honour of taking on the mantle of OPEC President on 1 January 2006, a challenging assignment which will require my total commitment.

I shall be taking over from a very capable colleague and President, His Excellency Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Minister of Energy for Kuwait, whose wise counsel we have just heard and whose vision and drive have done so much to get the EU-OPEC Energy Dialogue off the ground this year.

This being the last Dialogue at which His Excellency will be leading the OPEC delegation, I want to thank him most sincerely for his rich and excellent contributions, and to hope that he will continue to be a champion of the process even after his term of office as OPEC President expires at the end of the year.

It has been a great privilege for me to have been a part of the Dialogue process from inception and thus to share at first hand the over-riding motivation, as well as the particular interests behind the written record of its proceedings.

As the two groups of nations, essentially consumers and producers, engage in this process, it is important that we adopt a pragmatic attitude of give-and-take towards these interests, beyond the shared motivation of market stabilization. I am convinced that this is the only way to ensure that the Dialogue succeeds and endures for the benefit of the participants and the global economy in general.

The EU is already OPEC’s main trading partner and the flow of goods and services — oil and non-oil — among the Members of the two groups continues to grow. We want to do everything we can to encourage this and the EU-OPEC Energy Dialogue provides a wonderful broad avenue of opportunity in this respect.

My final comment in this brief opening statement concerns the OPEC Secretariat's host nation. As many of you know, nearly three months ago OPEC celebrated the 40th anniversary of setting up its Secretariat in Vienna, at the invitation of the Federal Republic of Austria. And, as we made clear during the celebrations, the Federal Republic and the City of Vienna have looked after us very well!

We should like to wish the Federal Republic of Austria every success as it takes over the six-month rotational Presidency of the EU on 1 January 2006. We believe that, at the same time, this can only serve for the good of the EU-OPEC Energy Dialogue, due to the longstanding, close relationship that exists between Austria and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Thank you.