OPEC Bulletin Commentary – December 2021-January 2022
The third of January 2022 was a significant date for several reasons. Not only was it notable for being the third day of the third year of the third decade of the 21st century, but OPEC convened significant meetings on the first working day of the year. By holding a Special Meeting of the OPEC Conference and a meeting of the Joint Technical Committee, as well as the 36th Meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee and the 24th Meeting of the OPEC and Non-OPEC Ministers on January 4, Participating countries gave a clear signal of their determination to continue the important work of contributing to oil market stability and consequently, a recovery in global economic growth.
The general trajectory of the year 2021 was one of global economic recovery and relative stability in the oil market. Indeed, the oil market avoided the turbulence seen in some other energy markets. The steady and dependable hand that the DoC provided was critical in this regard. The careful deliberations undertaken every month allowed participating countries to review market conditions, analyze current trends and take action accordingly.
Another significant outcome from the Special Meeting of the OPEC Conference was the decision by acclamation to appoint Haitham Al-Ghais of Kuwait as Secretary General of the Organization, with effect from August 1, 2022, for a period of three years. As current OPEC Secretary General, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo noted in his letter of congratulations to Al-Ghais,
“From my time working collaboratively with you as Kuwait’s Governor for OPEC, I know you have a great understanding of the organs and internal workings of the Organization. This will stand you in good stead and will be a great knowledge platform for when you assume the Secretary General’s responsibilities.”
In its decision, the Conference expressed its appreciation to Barkindo for his leadership during his two-term tenure as Secretary General beginning on August 1, 2016. This was also underscored in a tweet from the UAE’s longstanding Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, who said: “We also thank Brother Mohammad Barkindo, the current Secretary General of OPEC, for his fruitful efforts that led the Organization to achieve success and stability in global markets during the past years, especially at the time of the global challenges to combat the pandemic.” There will be an event later in the year to celebrate Barkindo’s tenure and legacy; an expression of gratitude for all he has accomplished as Secretary General.
With regards to market fundamentals, there are grounds for optimism in 2022. Participating countries have carefully navigated the challenging circumstances prompted by the pandemic and ensured the market enjoys greater balance than the difficult period in April 2020. While uncertainties remain, particularly with regard to mutations in the coronavirus, the ongoing vaccination rollout and recovery in the global economy suggests oil demand will continue to expand in the year ahead.
As with previous years, 2022 will also be a year OPEC attaches tremendous importance to its dialogue with other stakeholders in the energy industry. This is particularly manifest through the activities under the DoC umbrella and OPEC’s International Dialogues. The conclusion of 2021 saw the Fifth High-Level Meeting of the OPEC-China Energy Dialogue. The Meeting underscored the importance of multilateralism, dialogue and international cooperation at all levels to help overcome market challenges, as well as evolve future opportunities. The Meeting also stressed the benefits of sharing data, research and views on various key issues related to energy and technology advancement. It is intended to hold meetings under the EU-OPEC Energy Dialogue; the OPEC-Russia Energy Dialogue; the OPEC-China Energy Dialogue; the OPEC-India Energy Dialogue; the Technical Meeting on Asian Energy and Oil Outlook; the OPEC-US Dialogue and the OPEC-Africa Energy Dialogue in 2022.
Undoubtedly, a busy year lies ahead of us. However, participating countries have developed the volatility fighting-toolkit and a sense of community spirit that will enable them to respond to any challenges ahead. In this manner, they intend to sustain the optimism and hope that the dawning of a New Year brings throughout 2022.
With this, the OPEC Bulletin wishes all of its readers a happy, healthy and successful New Year.