Opening remarks by the President of the OPEC Conference

Delivered by HE Dr Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, Angola’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum and President of the OPEC Conference, at the 15th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, 1 April 2021, via videoconference.

Colleagues, distinguished delegates,

Welcome to the 15th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting.

Let me begin by expressing my appreciation to our Chairman and Co-Chairman for their skilled leadership, and I thank all the delegates for your dedication to our common cause.

I am aware that a new, strict lockdown began today for Vienna and parts of Austria.  On behalf of all OPEC Member Countries, I thank His Excellency Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo and his capable staff at the OPEC Secretariat for the consistently excellent research, technical support and coordination you provide despite the challenging circumstances in our host city.

It has been nearly a year since the 9th and 10th Extraordinary Meetings of this group took place amidst a rapidly spreading pandemic, and rising uncertainty about the stability of the crude oil market.

All of us who were in attendance at those meetings will recall the urgency of the situation, and the urgent need for action.

Today, the outlook for the oil industry is much more positive, thanks largely to our resolute efforts to stabilize the global oil market, restore its potential, and provide a platform for recovery.

We continue to see progress on COVID-19 vaccinations, which are injecting hope for the future and energizing the global economy.  Of course, the way forward needs to be inclusive: developing and emerging countries must not be left behind on the road to renewal and recovery.

I sincerely hope we never again experience the oil market turmoil we witnessed in the first months of the pandemic.  Speaking from an African perspective, our oil-producing countries need sustained market stability to enable the industry to grow, and to support the resilience of African economies.

Globally, we have seen steady improvements in oil market fundamentals and the demand outlook.  Producers, consumers and the global economy all share the benefits of our joint efforts to restore stability, optimism and opportunity.

I would like to recognize all participating countries for their individual and collective efforts on conformity, which stood at 113% in February.  This is a noble accomplishment and attests to our unity and resolve.  Each participating country must continue to do its part so that, together, we achieve our full potential.

I thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the additional voluntary adjustment of 1 million barrels per day for February, March and April.  This generous contribution gives those who have not yet reached full conformity the opportunity to achieve their goal.

Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources of Nigeria, has also been instrumental in supporting improved conformity as Special Envoy to Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and South Sudan.  I thank him and our colleagues from these countries for their hard work.  Their participation in workshops on conformity further support our mutually beneficial efforts.

Colleagues, distinguished delegates,

Despite the light we can see on the horizon, we must be aware of the clouds that remain.

The pandemic continues to disrupt international travel and traditional ways of doing business, casting a lingering shadow over the prospects for oil demand growth.  Our meetings are evidence of this.  This is the seventh time in a year that our distinguished group has met on a virtual platform.

In a few months, athletes from around the world are due to compete in the ultimate symbol of friendship and cooperation – the Olympics.  Already delayed by a year, the Tokyo Games will take place in mostly empty stadiums because of travel restrictions.  Even the athletic competitions that test physical endurance cannot escape the strong grip of this pandemic.

The OPEC and non-OPEC partners in the Declaration of Cooperation have endured Olympic-sized tests and trials through the 2014-2016 market crisis and now COVID-19.  When it comes time for the awards, I believe we are well positioned to win a Gold medal for our teamwork.

The observed volatility in the market during whole month of March, in particular last week, once again has proven the value of our prudent approach with cautious optimism.

Today, it is our task to again demonstrate the forward-looking leadership that has helped restore market confidence, support sustainable stability, and provide a platform for recovery.

Thank you, and I look forward to another successful meeting.

 HE Dr Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, Angola’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum and President of the OPEC Conference

HE Dr Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, Angola’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum and President of the OPEC Conference