Source: Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries – OPEC
Delivered by HRH Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy and Chairman of the OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, at the 15th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, 1 April 2021, via videoconference.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Excellency and Co-chair, Alexander Novak, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federa-tion,
Excellency President of OPEC,
Welcome to the 15TH meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC ministers.
Before we get to the scheduled business of to-day, I must thank OPEC for its recent state-ment in support of the Kingdom’s ‘Saudi Green Initiative’ and the ‘Middle East Green Initiative’.
These form an important part of the King-dom’s efforts to address climate change and reduce emissions and the region’s environmen-tal footprint.
OPEC and its Member Countries are natu-rally committed to sustainable oil market sta-bility.
But they are also committed to addressing is-sues of global concern, including sustainable development, environmental initiatives and cli-mate change, and the eradication of energy poverty.
The new initiatives would allow the Kingdom to work with regional and global partners, many of whom are Members of this Group, and to transfer knowledge and share experi-ences.
OPEC and the oil and gas industry must be part of the solution to climate change. They possess critical resources and expertise that can help meet the challenge of reducing global Green House Gas emissions.
G20 leaders have already endorsed the strat-egy advanced by Saudi Arabia to deal with cli-mate change – the Circular Carbon Economy and its 4Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle and remove – as an inclusive and balanced solution for dealing with greenhouse gas emissions.
It also embraced advanced technology as a crucial part of the global energy agenda.
On such a vital subject as climate change, which impacts the lives and livelihoods of eve-rybody on the planet and of generations to come, we must draw on this same spirit of unity that we have shown in dealing with the oil market over the past year.
We look forward to working with this Group in exploring possible work streams that would enhance our collaboration in this important area.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Last month, we called for a cautious and re-strained approach, and – unfortunately – we have been proved right by subsequent develop-ments.
Those who said we were behind the curve and not being responsive to the needs of the market have now recognized that OPEC+ cautious po-sition was the correct course of action.
We should all act in humility and recognize the limitations of our predictive powers in the face of unprecedented conditions.
In today’s uncertain environment, charting a rigid path to recovery is unwise.
The reality remains that the global picture is far from even, and the recovery is far from complete.
On the supply side, we have continued to play our part.
Compliance with the levels we agreed has – once again – been impressive, with new aggre-gate levels set at 113 per cent.
But we have to approach the coming weeks with the same admirable commitment.
And until the evidence of the recovery is unde-niable, we should maintain this cautious stance.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Few months back, we found ourselves in the eye of the storm. The sea conditions have im-proved and through our efforts we have stead-ied the ship.
For most part, the market is on stable footing and stocks continue to draw down.
In some parts of the world such as the US and the UK, the rollout of vaccines has been very effective.
Stimulus measures are providing much needed support to revive the global economy.
Even in those sectors that were badly hit such as airline travel, there are signs of meaningful improvement.
But the waves are still tall and the sea remains rough.
In the Eurozone, infection rates continue to rise and countries are reimposing full or par-tial lockdowns and extending restriction to combat a third wave.
Steering the ship in these current conditions where different scenarios are playing out in various regions of the world requires a steady hand on the tiller as I said back in February. It also requires flexibility and being responsive to market needs.
Our agreement back in December 2020 pro-vided us with a flexible mechanism to hold monthly meetings starting from January 2021 and to decide on whether to adjust output, be it increase, maintain, or decrease production depending on market conditions.
Continuing with this flexible approach will serve us best.