OPEC Secretary General Barkindo with Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy & Industry, UAE PHOTO: OPEC

OQ: You have been OPEC Secretary General since 2016. What have you learned while in office and what are you most proud of achieving?

MSB: When I assumed the position of OPEC Secretary General back in August 2016, I was deeply honored and humbled. What I have learned over the past three years or so has been the importance of being impartial: an arbitrator, a bridge between all of our member countries, and of course, now, all the countries in the Declaration of Cooperation. It is not for me to acknowledge personal achievements, but on a broader basis there is no doubt that the Declaration has caused a significant change in industry-wide and public perceptions of OPEC. Bringing together so many sovereign producing nations is unparalleled in the history of the oil industry and the organization has ably demonstrated its credentials as a body committed to international cooperation, working with other producers, honoring its commitments

and promoting mutual respect among all nations. Working in tandem with statesmen, leaders

and representatives of OPEC member countries and non-OPEC producing countries is what I am most proud off. The tireless work has borne fruit and the oil industry is in a much healthier place than it was when the Declaration of Cooperation was initiated in January 2017.

OQ: What will you, and OPEC, be focusing on in the year ahead – and during the next five years?

MSB: I wish I had a crystal ball to look into the future! It is never easy making predictions, as both new challenges and opportunities can appear, but two things stand out. The first is the Declaration of Cooperation, not only in terms of continuing to be agile and flexible to maintain a market balance, and a sustainable stability, but to ensure that this historic cooperation continues. The Declaration is not about short-termism. We are focused on

continuity: we have long-term objectives and goals and we hope to further evolve these under a Charter of Cooperation between oil producing countries. It is much easier to collaborate when we are united; when we find common cause and goals. As the famous English poet John Donne once said: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.” And the second point relates to the challenge of climate change. To put it simply: the oil and gas industry faces a crisis of perception. Today there is a picture being formed that oil and gas should be viewed as vestiges of the past. This misrepresents market realities and is grossly misleading. As I have already mentioned, our industry can

be, and needs to be, part of the answer to tackling climate change. We need to make sure our voice is heard, remind stakeholders that oil and gas is responsible for much of today’s economic growth, development and prosperity, and to offer solutions in developing a sustainable energy future for all.


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