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OPEC bulletin 10/17

“It was through Mabro’s pioneering work and deter-

mination that the Institute was started, and it is his

spirit that continues to inspire the discussions that have

been central to this Seminar since it began in 1979,” he

said. “This year is the Seminar’s 39


edition. I fondly

recall my first visit to this Seminar back in 1986, and I

can honestly say that it has had a positive and lasting


“He was an influence on many of us, including my

humble self,” he continued. “I met with him on many

occasions to brainstorm ideas and to garner advice on

my career. He was always friendly and accommodating,

open-minded to ideas that might conflict with his own,

and willing to offer guidance, both personally and in

terms of his views on the global energy landscape.

The Secretary General went on to describe him as a

visionary with keen insight into the workings of the global

oil market.

“In his many writings and talks, Mabro sought to

provide a view of the oil market in the 21


century,” he

explained. “It is one that many of us have come to recog-

nize today. In fact, his understanding of the central role

that oil would have in both industrialized and developing

countries was in advance of his peers. In many ways, he

was a visionary.”

The Secretary General made reference to the 2005

book Mabro edited on behalf of OPEC entitled

Oil in

the 21



in which Mabro displayed true exper-

tise and foresight into some of the future challenges

the oil market would end up having to face in the years


In the book, the editor also highlighted the impor-

tance of communication and dialogue between the wide

range of energy industry stakeholders.

“He was a very early advocate of the producer-

consumer and producer-producer dialogue, following the

oil price crash in 1986 and his excellent work and analy-

sis on the genesis of this dramatic event,” the Secretary

General pointed out. “I am pleased to say that at OPEC,

we have taken this lesson on dialogue to heart, as recent

developments have demonstrated.”

The Secretary General’s tribute concluded with a call

to learn from the contributions made by Mabro and to fol-

low his good example.

“As the 39


edition of this Seminar proceeds with

discussions and deliberations, let us remember the

important contributions of the late Robert Mabro,” he

asserted. “We should look to recall the impetus he

gave to this annual Seminar, and seek to emulate the

vigour and spirit with which he always carried out his


History of price cycles

The Secretary General then went on to provide a histor-

ical look at the role and effects of oil price cycles, both

booms and busts, through the years, adding that these

cycles have always been part and parcel of the oil mar-

ket’s cyclical nature.

“The reality is that price cycles have always been

part of the market,” he stated. “They are part of its evolv-

ing nature; and as the market dynamics and structures

change, so do the characteristics of those price cycles.”

OPEC’s research has identified six major price cycles

since the early 1970s, revealing both similarities and dif-

ferences between the various cycles.

Professor Robert Mabro.

Oxford Energy Seminar