Vienna, Austria - 5 March 2008
The 148th (Ordinary) Meeting of the Conference of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) convened in Vienna, Austria, on 5 March 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 Desidério da Graça Veríssimo e Costa, Minister of Petroleum of Angola and Head of its Delegation.
The Conference warmly welcomed the Minister of Petroleum of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Assistant Secretary of Energy of Mexico, the Deputy Minister of Oil and Gas of the Sultanate of Oman, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Energy of the Russian Federation, and the Minister of Energy and Mining of Sudan, attending the Meeting as Observers.
The Conference reviewed the Secretary General's report, the report of the Economic Commission Board, the report of the Ministerial Monitoring Sub-Committee — whose Members the Conference once again thanked for their longstanding efforts on OPEC’s behalf — and various administrative matters.
In reviewing the prospects for the oil market, the Conference highlighted the economic slowdown in the USA, which, together with the deepening credit crisis in financial markets, is increasing the downside risks for world economic growth and, consequently, demand for crude oil.
The Conference observed that the market is well-supplied, with current commercial oil stocks standing above their five-year average. The Conference further noted, with concern, that the current price environment does not reflect market fundamentals, as crude oil prices are being strongly influenced by the weakness in the US dollar, rising inflation and significant flow of funds into the commodities market.
In spite of the seasonally low demand in the second quarter, the Conference decided to maintain OPEC production levels, emphasized that increased uncertainty and volatility call for continued market vigilance and reiterated the commitment of Member Countries to market stability and ensuring adequate supplies.
The Conference was briefed by the Head of Delegation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on the ongoing legal dispute between ExxonMobil Corporation, on the one hand, and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its national oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, on the other.
The Conference expressed its support to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Petroleos de Venezuela SA, in the exercise of its sovereign rights over its natural resources, in accordance with international law, a right reiterated by the Algiers, Caracas and Riyadh Summit Declarations of OPEC Heads of State and Government.
The Conference called for resolving any such disputes through good faith and amicable negotiations, and excluding ex parte pre-judgement measures which will make finding fair solutions more difficult.
The Conference welcomed the Yasuni-ITT Initiative presented by Ecuador and expressed its interest and support, considering that this proposal is consistent with the energy and environment-protection objectives established at the Third Summit of OPEC Heads of State and Government which took place in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on 17 and 18 November 2007.
The Conference passed Resolutions that will be published on 5 April 2008, after ratification by Member Countries.
The Conference decided that its next Ordinary Meeting will be convened in Vienna, Austria, on Tuesday, 9 September 2008.
The Conference expressed its appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Austria and the authorities of the City of Vienna for their warm hospitality and the excellent arrangements made for the Meeting.