C o m m e n t a r y
Dialogue is alive and well
In an increasingly globalized, complex and interdependent
energy industry, dialogue has become essential for any stake-
holder to accomplish its goals. In times such as these, no one
can go the distance alone.
OPEC has been at the forefront of international energy
dialogue since the early 1990s, when it joined forces with
the International Energy Agency to begin a platform for pro-
ducer-consumer dialogue through the establishment of the
International Energy Forum (IEF).
Since its founding in July of 1991 in Paris, theIEF
evolved to become the world’s preeminent venue for dia-
logue between global oil and gas producing and consuming
Today, its72 Member Countries,
representing all six con-
tinents, encompass nearly 90 per cent of global supply and
demand for oil and gas. Its membership has expanded over
the years to include transit states and other producers such
as Argentina, China, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa.
OPEC continues to play a leading role in the IEF’s biennial
Ministerial Meetings, which host the world’s largest gather-
ing of energy ministers.
In the years since the IEF was founded, OPEC has ex-
panded its dialogue activities to include platforms with the
European Union, the Russian Federation, and more recently,
Japan, India, China and the United States.
Additionally, since 2016, intensified dialogue between
OPEC and non-OPEC producing countries culminated in the
historic ‘Declaration of Cooperation’, in which 24 producers
came together to help rescue the oil market from one of the
worst downturns in history, when the oil price plummeted by
nearly 80 per cent in mid-2014.
This month, OPEC’s dialogue efforts were in full swing as
the Secretary General spoke in several of the world’s capitals
to promote lasting stability in the world oil market.
In Russia, on October 3, he shared a panel with President,
Vladimir Putin, during the country’s premier oil and gas event
— Russian Energy Week.
Both leaders made comments emphasizing the ongoing
importance of dialogue in the industry.
President Putin noted that the landmark OPEC and non-
OPEC cooperation, in which Russia has played a key role, was
helping restore stability to the oil market and providing ben-
efits to the world economy.
“Everyone is interested in a stablemarket,” he said. “What
we did with OPEC, I believe, is beneficial for all the global
The Secretary General, in his remarks, noted the impor-
tant role of dialogue in increasing transparency and reducing
“Through our dialogues and cooperation, we can lessen
the hills and valleys of high volatility which create instabil-
ity in the market and risks for future investment,” he stated.
“While some ups and downs are endemic to the oil industry,
we can certainly lessen their impact by sharing information
and moving towards a common goal.”
A week later, the Secretary General was in New Delhi to
take part in the first-ever India Energy Forum. Again here, he
underlined the prominent role of dialogue between OPEC and
one of the world’s largest consumers.
“This premier energy forummarks a newstage in the grow-
ing strategic relationship betweenOPEC and India, and builds
onpreviousmeetings and interactions thatwehavehad so far,”
he said. “My friend, Honourable Minister Pradhan, reminded
me on Sunday, during our OPEC-India bilateral meeting, that
within less than a year, we have already met five times. The
dialogue between OPEC and India — the relationship that we
celebrate here today — is rather unique given India’s role as
one of the most dynamic countries in the world.”
Before the end of the year, OPEC will engage in at least
two more high-level dialogues with the European Union and
OPEC has also initiated a new era of dialogue with the
United States, which began last December when an OPEC del-
egation, led by the Secretary General, held a series of high-
profile meetings in Washington, DC and New York City.
The week-long itinerary included meetings at the
International Monetary Fund, the US Energy Information
Administration, the Centre for Strategic and International
Columbia University and IHS Markit.
During remarks delivered at CSIS on December 13, 2016,
the Secretary General extended an invitation for the US to
join OPEC’s portfolio of international dialogue initiatives.
“We hope now that the United States will join us for a new
era of collaboration and dialogue, so that we can work togeth-
er towards our mutually beneficial goal of ensuring stability
in the world energy markets,” he said. “These conditions will
contribute to economic growth and prosperity, two things we
all desire for this and future generations.”
During this month’s India event, the Secretary General
reinforced this message, urging producers in the US to join
the collaborative efforts currently being made by OPEC and
non-OPEC producers to rebalance the global oil market.
“We urge our friends in the shale basins of North America
to take this shared responsibility with all seriousness it de-
serves, as one of the key lessons learnt fromthe current unique
supply-driven cycle,” he stated.
Only time will tell as to how the US oil industry might re-
spond to this open invitation. One thing is certain, though:
OPEC’s long history of dialogue and cooperation, which is
alive and well today, is bearing fruit and bringing us closer
to a healthy, stable and sustainable global oil market.