Two seminal events linking OPEC’s successful past with its bright future

OPEC Bulletin Commentary – July-August 2023

Since the publication of the last edition of the OPEC Bulletin, there have been several events of immense significance for the Organization, namely, the 8th OPEC International Seminar and the celebration of the Organization’s 60th Anniversary, at a moving ceremony that took place at the site of OPEC’s founding, Al-Shaab Hall in Baghdad.

The celebration of OPEC’s 60th Anniversary took place on 16 June 2023. The event was originally planned for 2020; however, it was postponed multiple times due to COVID-19. In attendance were officials and representatives of OPEC Member Countries and some non-OPEC countries, along with other dignitaries. It featured a full programme of festivities, including various cultural activities.

Whilst at Al-Shaab Hall, the Heads of Delegation also signed a document, entitled ‘The journey from Baghdad — 63 years of progress.’ It recalls the historic day of 14 September 1960, and reaffirms the Organization’s core principles with a commitment to safeguarding legitimate national interests and helping ensure order and stability in the global oil market.

While 63 years may have elapsed between the founding of OPEC and the convening of the 8th OPEC International Seminar, the same spirit and principles that guided the founding fathers in Baghdad were manifest in the most recent edition of the Seminar: namely, a commitment to dialogue, international cooperation and a steadfast focus on safeguarding the interests of both producers and consumers.

OPEC’s International Seminar is regarded as one of the premier events on the global energy calendar.  Although they have come in various forms over the decades, the high-profile gatherings have been unified in their breadth of outreach. Seminar participants are a proverbial who’s who of the ‘great and the good’ in the oil and energy industry, including Ministers from OPEC’s Member Countries and other oil-producing and oil-consuming nations, as well as heads of intergovernmental organizations, chief executives of national and international oil companies, academics, specialist media and other energy experts.

As the parameters in which the oil and energy industry operate have evolved, so too have OPEC seminars, embracing areas such as global finance, sustainable development and the environment.

The 8th OPEC International Seminar, held on 5 and 6 July 2023 in Vienna, broke records with more than 1,000 delegates coming together for critical and constructive discussions on issues that globally matter, including energy security, climate change and the energy transitions. It was attended by 17 ministers from producing and consuming countries, including Heads of Delegation of OPEC Member Countries; 18 CEOs of energy firms; 13 heads of international organizations; and 12 media partners, along with numerous journalists and analysts from across the globe.

The theme of the 8th OPEC International Seminar was ‘Towards a Sustainable and Inclusive Energy Transition.’ In his opening remarks at the Seminar, the OPEC Secretary General, Haitham Al Ghais, explained the fundamental concepts behind the themes. “The concept of ‘sustainability’ is essentially about balance. It relates to how we fulfil the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future generations; while ensuring a balance between the three pillars of sustainability: economic viability, environ-mental protection and social equity,” he said.

“‘Inclusivity’ relates to ensuring all voices are heard in discussions on energy transitions; developing and developed countries, and producers and consumers. It means adhering to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. It means there is no ‘one-size-fits all’ solution to the climate challenge, in-stead, there are multiple pathways to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement,” he added.

It proved to be a busy few weeks for the Organization, but these were replete with accomplishments and significant achievements. What was palpably central to all of it was one crucial word: cooperation. It is a principle upon which the Organization was founded and will guide its activities in the years to come.

OPEC Bulletin July-August 2023

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