The recent holding of the 146th (Extraordinary) Conference of the Opec ministers in Abu Dhabi on December 5 has been a landmark one and signals the desire of the country to play a bigger role in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec). The last time such a meeting was held in the UAE was in December 1981.
The UAE’s oil reserve is estimated at about 98.1 billion barrels, which is about 8.1 per cent of the world’s oil reserve, while the country’s gas reserve is estimated at six trillion cubic metres.
The UAE’s current oil output stands at 2.7 million barrels per day, while its gas output is at 65 billion cubic metres per annum.
It is but natural that the UAE intends to play a key role in the oil producers’ organisation. And the fact is the UAE’s success in managing its economy has been praised all over the world, so much so financial institutions and developing countries across the world are seeking to emulate the UAE as a role model.
Another major Opec event the year 2007 will be remembered for is the convening of the third Opec summit on November 17 and 18 in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, during which leaders of Opec member nations issued resolutions reaffirming Opec’s commitment to ensuring global economic stability and intra-members co-operation in all areas of the oil industry. It was the first time the Opec summit was held in the region.
Speaking at the summit, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the UAE will continue to honour its commitment of continuous oil supply to the international oil market. The UAE President also said his country believes in the need to invest more in the oil sector in order to boost production, but was quick to add the Emirate strongly believes in the need to ensure security of demand against the security of supply.
UAE’s oil output is expected to rise to 3.5 million barrels per day at the beginning of the next decade, while its oil refinery capacity, which currently stands at 6,00,000 barrels per day, is also expected to rise to 1.1 million barrels per day soon.
Sheikh Khalifa said throughout the last 47 years of the founding of Opec, the organisation had proved its ability to positively deal with various developments on the oil market and the global economy, adding that Opec was able to achieve a balance on the oil market, pumping adequate supplies into the market to always ensure steady global economic growth.
The year 2007 was significant for the UAE, having hosted Opec’s 146th Extraordinary Conference in Abu Dhabi at a time when oil prices hit close to $100 per barrel. This situation added more significance to the Abu Dhabi conference, which enabled Opec to review the mid- and long-term effects of the price hike on the global economy, which has been achieving remarkable growth rates despite the temporary shocks it suffered as a result of liquidity crisis in the world market.
As UAE’s Minister for Energy Mohammed bin Dhaen Al Hamli, who was president of Opec, said: "it is an honour and a privilege to welcome ministers and delegates from Opec member countries.”
Talking on the role of the Opec, which has been criticised for oil prices hovering around as high as $100 a barrel, the UAE minister said he thought Opec was on the right path in working towards oil market stability.
“I am confident the organisation is on the right path. I see Opec continuing to work towards ensuring oil market stability, while engaging consuming nations in a continuing dialogue,” he said.
On the most challenging experience he faced while serving as the president of Opec, Al Hamli said: “Well, quite apart from having to travel so extensively throughout the world, the most challenging experience has been the need to continuously maintain the momentum in the producer-consumer dialogue.
The last few years have seen a marked increase in the level of engagement between oil consuming and producing nations, he said.
“For me personally, it has been very satisfying to see there is considerably greater mutual understanding between the two sides. Both producers and consumers understand that we need to work together to ensure stable oil markets. Continued global economic growth is the aim of both producers and consumers,” the minister explained.
Opec members have two-thirds of the estimated crude oil reserve in the world. Natural gas reserve has also increased in the last four decades as latest statistics show gas reserve is currently at about 80 trillion cubic metres.
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