OPEC, GECF Hold First High-Level Meeting

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Representing the lifeblood of global economy, two of the world’s foremost energy organisations OPEC and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) recently held their first high-level meeting, highlighting the growing cooperation between the two organisations under the framework of the OPEC-GECF Energy Dialogue.

The OPEC delegation was led by HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General, and the GECF delegation was headed by HE Yury Sentyurin, Secretary General.

In his welcoming remarks, the OPEC Secretary General made reference to the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between both organisations on 3 October 2019 to promote the “exchange of knowledge, experience, views, information, data and practices in areas of mutual interest.”

The discussion linked to the two technical expert meetings that were convened in June and October of 2020, which established a structured framework for the Dialogue leading to this first high-level meeting.

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“In a very short timeframe, we have launched with great success this mutually beneficial partnership, and look forward to building upon these key milestones today,” HE Barkindo stated.

HE Sentyurin said: “At the GECF, we firmly believe that our well-established OPEC-GECF energy dialogue serves as a foundation for the realisation of valid policies that serve as a framework for international collaboration, and guarantee the much-needed security of supply and demand for oil and natural gas.”

“Although the current market conditions and lockdowns are multiplying throughout the world, we believe that oil and natural gas industries will always be an essential element in achieving a low-carbon energy system globally and regionally and, that they will support the post-pandemic economic revitalisation.”

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The commonalities of both organisations were stressed as both shareseveral Member Countries in common: Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, IR Iran, Libya, Nigeria, and Venezuela. OPEC Member Countries Angola, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates are GECF Observer Members. It was also noted that there will be enhanced opportunities for cooperation among the wider framework of Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) countries who are Members of or Observers to the GECF.

The meeting focused on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on global energy markets in the short-, medium-, and long-term. OPEC also provided an update on the OPEC-non-OPEC DoC, now in its fourth year, as well as on the longer-term Charter of Cooperation.

Participants also discussed the work programme and the roadmap for the Dialogue for 2020-2021.

Both parties underscored the importance of crude oil and natural gas to the world economy, as the two commodities, together, will continue to account for more than half the global energy mix.

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Building on the collaborative research activities, OPEC and GECF discussed the activities as part of the multilateral cooperation, especially as the industry continues to face a major challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and its unprecedented fallout on the energy markets and the global economy.

The GECF Secretary General invited OPEC to add its insight into the next edition of the authoritarian GECF Global Gas Outlook 2050 (2021 edition) following the GECF’s inclusion in the 2020 OPEC World Oil Outlook (WOO).

It was agreed that the next High-level Meeting of the OPEC-GECF Energy Dialogue will take place in 2021, if possible in person, and will be hosted by the GECF in Doha.

Background: The GECF and OPEC signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 30 October 2019, to “exchange knowledge, experience, views, information, data and practices in the areas of mutual interest.”

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Areas of cooperation identified in the memorandum include energy market monitoring, analysis, modelling and forecasting; energy market research studies covering the short- medium- and long-term, and their methodologies; energy market data and statistics, data and statistical operational topics (such as methodologies of data gathering, assessment and dissemination); energy initiatives and developments aimed at sustainability, along with environmental and social responsibility; and other areas and matters involving common interests and concerns.

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