Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, has been elected as the first female president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at the 166th meeting of the OPEC Conference in Vienna, Austria. Alison-Maduke takes over from His Excellency Abdourhman Atahar Al-Ahirish, Libya’s Vice Prime Minister for Corporation and her tenure takes effect from January 2015. Before her emergence, she was the Alternate President of the organization. The conference also elected His Excellency, Dr Mohammed Bin Saleh Al Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry of Qatar and Head of its delegation as Alternate President.
The conference reviewed the Secretary General’s report, the report of the Economic Commission Board (ECB) and a number of administrative matters. The conference also exchanged views on developments in multilateral environment negotiations, including preparations for COP20/CMP10, which will be held shortly in Lima, Peru; the status of the organization’s on-going energy dialogue with the European Union (EU); its continued cooperative work with various other international organizations for the G-20; as well as its energy dialogue with the Russian Federation and others.
The conference reviewed the oil market outlook, as presented by the Secretary General, in particular supply/demand projections for the first, second, third and fourth quarters of 2015, with emphasis on the first half of the year. The conference also considered forecasts for the world economic outlook and noted that the global economic recovery was continuing, albeit very slowly and unevenly spread, with growth forecast at 3.2% for 2014 and 3.6% for 2015.The conference also noted, importantly, that, although world oil demand is forecast to increase during the year 2015, this will, yet again, be offset by the projected increase of 1.36 mb/d in non-OPEC supply. The increase in oil and product stock levels in OECD countries, where days of forward cover are comfortably above the five-year average, coupled with the on-going rise in non-OECD inventories, are indications of an extremely well-supplied market.
Recording its concern over the rapid decline in oil prices in recent months, the conference agreed that stable oil price – at a level which did not affect global economic growth but which, at the same time, allowed producers to receive a decent income and to invest to meet future demand – were vital for world economic wellbeing. Accordingly, in the interest of restoring market equilibrium, the conference decided to maintain the production level of 30.0 mb/d, as was agreed in December 2011. As always, in taking this decision, member countries confirmed their readiness to respond to developments which could have an adverse impact on the maintenance of an orderly and balanced oil market.
Agreeing on the need to be vigilant given the uncertainties and risks associated with future developments in the world economy, the conference directed the secretariat to continue its close monitoring of developments in supply and demand, as well as non-fundamental factors such as speculative activity, keeping member countries fully briefed on developments.
The conference appointed Dr. Bernard Mommer, Venezuelan Governor for OPEC, as chairman of the Board of Governors for the year 2015, and Mr. Ahmed Messili, Algerian Governor for OPEC, as Alternate Chairman for the same period, with effect from 1st January 2015.
The conference decided to extend the tenure of HE Abdalla S. El-Badri as Secretary General for a further period of six months, until 31st December 2015.
The conference approved the budget of the organization for the year 2015 and also resolved that its next Ordinary Meeting will convene in Vienna, Austria, on Friday, 5th June 2015, immediately after the OPEC International Seminar on “Petroleum: An Engine for Development” which will take place at the Vienna Hofburg Palace on 3rd and 4th June 2015.
Finally, the Conference again expressed its appreciation to the Government and the people of the Republic of Austria, as well as the authorities of the City of Vienna, for their warm hospitality and the excellent arrangements made for the Meeting.