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Your Excellencies, distinguished delegates,
Welcome to the 17th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting.
Allow me to begin by extending thanks to His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Salman, Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia, and His Excellency Alexander Novak, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation for their commitment and tireless dedication to the Declaration of Cooperation (DoC).
Your leadership is of great importance to this group, and brings comfort and reassurance as we tackle the rebalancing process and enable the return of more sustainable stability.
I would also like to praise the excellent work of the Joint Technical Committee, and offer our sincere appreciation to HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC’s tireless Secretary General, as well as the entire staff of the OPEC Secretariat, for ensuring the full and efficient operation of the Secretariat and the DoC process through these challenging times.
Since we last met towards the end of April, we have seen relative stability in the oil market.
The global economy, oil market fundamentals and the oil demand outlook have all been encouraged by positive news on vaccine rollouts, although we still need to see more expansion on the vaccination front in developing countries, and the continuing massive fiscal stimulus that is driving the economic rebound.
The market has also continued to react positively to the decision taken at the 15th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, and reinforced at the 16th Meeting, to adjust upward the production levels in the DoC for May, June and July 2021.
It is evident that the decision we took back at the start of April has proven both reasonable, and judicious. However, as we all know, given events of the past year or so and the ever-evolving outlook, we need to remain vigilant, flexible and agile.
Uncertainties remain. We still have clouds on the horizon. Over the past month we have seen a rise in COVID-19 cases in a number of countries, such as India, Japan and Brazil. This is evidently having an impact on oil demand, particularly in the Asian region, which needs to be monitored carefully.
There has also been much talk of the spread of new COVID-19 variants and the potential impact on the recovery process, and we also need to be watchful of such issues as sovereign debt levels in some regions, inflation, central bank responses, and the return of oil supplies to the market.
Here, I would like to acknowledge again all participating countries for their individual and collective efforts on conformity, which stood at 114% in April (including Mexico), and again applaud the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its generous additional voluntary adjustments in 2021.
As we look at the path ahead, it is important to reiterate that each participating country must continue to do its part, meet its 100% conformity level and make up any compensation volumes.
It is only through unified commitment that we can achieve our full potential.
Excellencies, distinguished delegates,
Before I conclude I would like to touch on one issue that is central to our industry, our countries and to the energy security that both producers and consumers desire. That issue is: investments.
Here in Angola, investment in oil and gas production is the lifeblood of our economy, helping fuel growth and prosperity, and enabling us to undertake economic diversity.
We believe that oil and gas will be vital to the global energy mix in the years and decades ahead, but at the same time we also recognize the need to reduce emissions, with a key focus on cleaner and more efficient technologies.
Alongside ensuring stable supplies to consumers, this is a core focus of OPEC and the broader oil and gas industry. We are committed to being part of the solution to reducing global emissions.
We need to keep in mind that without the necessary global investments, there is the potential for further volatility and a future energy shortfall, which is not in the interests of either producers or consumers.
Moreover, from a developing country perspective, it is important to underscore just how challenging a net zero emissions goal is in the coming decades, and even beyond.
Coming from the continent of Africa, I speak from the heart when underlining that if billions of people in the developing world that suffer from a lack of energy access, feel they are excluded from access to energies that have helped fuel the developed world, then this could sow further divisions. It could expand the divide between the haves and have nots, the global North and the South.
It is vital we continue to focus on the core principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – equity, and common, but differentiated responsibilities, and respective capabilities.
Excellencies, distinguished delegates,
With that, I look forward to our meeting today as we focus on our objectives of market
rebalancing and a sustainable stability, both in the short and longer terms.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of OPEC.