The 151st (Extraordinary) Meeting of the Conference of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) convened in Oran, Algeria, on 17 December 2008, under the Chairmanship of its President, HE Dr Chakib Khelil, Minister of Energy and Mines of Algeria and Head of its Delegation, and its Alternate President, HE Eng Josť Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos, Minister of Petroleum of Angola and Head of its Delegation.
The Conference welcomed the Minister of Industry and Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Minister of Oil and Gas of the Sultanate of Oman, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, and the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of the Syrian Arab Republic, attending the Meeting as Observers.
The Conference considered the report of the Ministerial Monitoring Sub-Committee, whose Members the Conference once again thanked for their continuing and much-appreciated efforts on behalf of the Organization, as well as a submission from the Secretary General on oil market developments.
Having reviewed the oil market outlook, including overall demand/supply projections for the year 2009, in particular the first and second quarters, the Conference observed that crude volumes entering the market remain well in excess of actual demand: this is clearly demonstrated by the fact that crude stocks in OECD countries are well above their five-year average and are expected to continue to rise. Moreover, the impact of the grave global economic downturn has led to a destruction of demand, resulting in unprecedented downward pressure being exerted on prices, which have fallen by more than US $90 a barrel since early July 2008. Indeed, the Conference noted that, if unchecked, prices could fall to levels, which would place at jeopardy the investments required to guarantee adequate energy supplies in the medium-to-long term.
In light of the above, the Conference agreed to cut 4.2 million barrels a day from the actual September 2008 OPEC-11 production of 29.045 mb/d, with effect from 1 January 2009, with Member Countries strongly emphasizing their firm commitment to ensuring that their production is reduced by the individually agreed amounts.
In taking the above decision, Heads of Delegation reiterated the Organizationís firm commitment to providing an economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations, as well as to stabilizing the market and realizing OPECís objective of maintaining crude oil prices at fair and equitable levels, for the future well-being of the market and the good of producers and consumers alike. With this in mind, the Conference renewed its call on non-OPEC producers/exporters to cooperate with the Organization to support oil market stabilization.
The Conference confirmed that its next Ordinary Meeting will be held on Sunday, 15 March 2009, in Vienna, Austria, shortly before the OPEC International Seminar, which is to take place at the Hofburg Palace, Vienna, on 18 and 19 March 2009.
The Conference approved the Budget of the Organization for the year 2009.
The Conference expressed its sincere gratitude to His Excellency Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the President of the Republic, the Government and the People of Algeria for the warm hospitality extended to the Conference participants and for the excellent arrangements made for the Meeting. In addition, the Conference recorded its special thanks to HE Dr Khelil, Minister of Energy and Mines, and his Staff for their warm hospitality and the excellent arrangements made for the Meeting.
The Conference also expressed its thanks to the 2008 President of the Conference, HE Dr Khelil, for his excellent leadership, and welcomed the 2009 President, HE Eng Botelho de Vasconcelos.
Finally, the Conference passed Resolutions that will be published on 17 January 2009, after ratification by Member Countries.