FULL TEXT: Al Arabiya senior presenter Naser ElTibi's exclusive interview with OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo.
MB: Thank you very much Naser for having me, and its good to see you here at ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi. As I recall we have had these discussions before and as you can confirm this has been the main issue being discussed in conferences and roundtables in recent times for obvious reasons. But all I can tell you at the moment is that the President of OPEC HE Khaled Al Falih of Saudi Arabia and his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak have engaged in extensive consultations on these and other related issues in order to build a consensus towards the November 30th in Vienna. So it is only natural for us to wait until they conclude these consultations. And hopefully reach a common position and a consensus that will be adopted by the conference. Anything to the contrary will be mere speculation at the moment.
NT: of course the current deal ends in march, but the coming meeting is in November. What are in your opinion are the pros and the cons of taking the extension decision in November vs March?
MB: The meeting in November will address a variety of issues including: a comprehensive report of the joint ministerial monitoring committee headed by HE Essam Marzouq of the State of Kuwait on the state of conformity to the supply adjustment, the 10th monthly report, and the preliminary numbers for the month of November which will be presented to the conference. Together with the report of the Economic Commission board of opec, which is the economic think tank of the organization. And for the second time we will meet with the technical representatives from non opec member countries in the declaration of cooperation. This will be the 2nd meeting as part of the framework of cooperation between non opec and opec. All of that will be presented at the November conference to enable the opec confernec and the opec and non opec joint ministerial conference to take a holistic view of the market and the state of implementation of the declaration of cooperation as well as the projections for 2018 and beyond based on which an informed decision will be taken.
NT: speaking of projections are you worried at all with current prices over $60 that we might witness a supply response from outside opec?
MB: the train of rebalancing the oil market that took off at Algiers if you recall in sept last year with the adoption of the Algiers accord which stopped over in Vienna in the 30th of November last year, almost a year ago now, where the Vienna agreement was reached, which paved the way for the historical declaration of cooperation with non opec on the 10th of dec. Which we all began implementing on the 1st of January of this year, it is still work in progress. We have achieved our targets significantly of reducing inventories that have built up over the last several years to very unsustainable levels and weighed down on prices and sent the cycle into deeper troughs. I think u can see consistently that we have been able to assist the market in destocking both crude oil as well as products and now we are on the path of achieving a rebalanced market where supply and demand will return to balance and prices will return to equilibrium. And this has eluded the market for nearly 3 years. So I think we have every reason to be satisfied with the achievements so far. And look at the coming months and years with greater optimism.
That the current cycle which had seen a contraction specially on the investment side is finally on course to coming back to normal and to a sustainable path of growth that will meet not only current demand but future demand and to attract sufficient investments on a timely basis to secure future supplies.
NT: my final question can we expect at the end of the nov meeting to have more non opec countries on board with the deal?
MB: it is not impossible. It is most likely we will have additional producing countries who will attend the conference. at the moment I am not in a position to disclose to you because it is all part of the consultation that the president of the conference HE Khalid Al Falih is undertaking. Not only with th 24 countries in the declaration of cooperation. But he is also reaching out to other producers who were not able to join this train in December of last year. But its better late than never. So Im confident his efforts will yield good results for us in November.