The event of the year

OPEC Bulletin Commentary – May-June 2023

By the time this edition of the OPEC Bulletin is rolling off the press, the latest OPEC International Seminar will be very present in the minds of everyone within the world energy community.

Though it is meant to be held every second year, the last time the OPEC Seminar was held (the 7th) was in June 2018. Since then, it has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, this year’s Seminar (the 8th), to be held from 5–6 July at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, is being met with especially high excitement and interest after a five-year break.

This year’s theme, ‘Towards a Sustainable and Inclusive Energy Transition’, gets right to the heart of the biggest topic of the day affecting the oil market and global energy security as a whole. The 8th OPEC International Seminar will thus focus on key issues pertaining to the energy transition, including energy security, technological innovation, environmental matters, sustainable development, energy policies, along with broader trends in the world economy.

Once again, a high-level group of top people from the oil industry and energy world will be sharing their wisdom and thoughts. It is also a perfect venue for participants to reacquaint themselves with old friends and contacts after a long hiatus.

Running parallel to the two-day 8th Seminar programme, the Seminar Exhibition will allow exhibitors and attendees to shine a spotlight on the global energy agenda and its most pressing challenges and opportunities, including trends and innovations related to the latest technologies and developments across the industry’s entire value chain. This will help build bridges for future dialogue and cooperation.

OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais put it well when he said: “The OPEC International Seminar has an outstanding record for both the calibre of participants and the high level of discussions that take place on the leading issues affecting the energy sector, especially at this critical time in the global industry. We are looking forward to welcoming all our guests to Vienna for what will be a truly memorable and informative event.”

The initial OPEC Seminar was held in Vienna in the summer of 1969, under the title ‘International oil and the energy policies of the producing and consuming countries’. This was followed by further seminars in 1978, 1979 and 1981, and in 1992 the Organization held a one-off Seminar on the Environment in the lead-up to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

The latest in the current series of seminars started in 2001 and has provided an exciting platform with which to examine key industry issues and develop new opportunities for dialogue and cooperation.

The event has been increasing in size and scope over the years — with an expanding range of subjects to match its growing reputation — to become a premier event on the world energy calendar. Back in 1978, it was attended by around 200 participants, while at the last seminar in 2018, a record 950 participants attended from over 50 countries.

The venue for this year’s Seminar is once again the Hofburg Palace. A lot of history has been written here, including a summit between Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and US President John F Kennedy in 1961. It was the backdrop for the Congress of Vienna in 1814 and 1815, chaired by the legendary Austrian statesman Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich. That meeting is credited by many as having created long-term stability across Europe.

The emphasis on dialogue and stability will also be front and centre at the upcoming Seminar, where history will once again be made. At OPEC, we believe in continuing to develop existing and new avenues of cooperation, with innovative thinking and collaboration on key issues, many of which are complex, broad and interrelated.

The enthusiasm with which this Seminar is being approached shows that the issues of energy security and the energy transition remain front and centre for everyone. In this regard, oil is expected to remain the main source of energy for the planet until at least 2045, according to OPEC analysis. With population and energy requirements growing, all forms of energy and all technologies to help reduce emissions will be needed to ensure no one is left behind in the energy transition.

With that, we hope those attending the 8th OPEC International Seminar enjoy the event.

OPEC Bulletin Commentary – May-June 2023

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