02 Aug 2017, Sweetcrude, Libreville, Gabon — OPEC Secretary-General, Dr. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, has met with Gabon’s President, Ali Bongo Ondimba, and the country’s Minister of Petroleum and Hydrocarbons, Mr. Pascal Houangni Ambouroue and other Gabonese officials. Each meeting was also attended by a group of accompanying OPEC officials.
The Secretary General and an accompanying OPEC delegation were formally received by Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba in the presence of Gabon’s Minister of Petroleum and Hydrocarbons. The President welcomed them warmly, emphasizing the importance of having rejoined the OPEC family. “We are passing through a difficult time and if it had not been for OPEC, it could have been much more difficult,” the President said.
Gabon had originally become a full member of OPEC in 1975 but then terminated its membership in 1995. It re-joined the Organization once more in July 2016.
The President also underscored the importance and value of the technical assistance the country receives from various OPEC Member Countries, particularly now that Gabon “has embarked on a plan to transform its oil industry” and make it more sustainable.
In his comments, the President also conveyed his congratulations to HE Barkindo for his achievements since becoming Secretary General – particularly in bringing together numerous important non-OPEC producing countries for consultations leading to last year’s Declaration of Cooperation.
The Secretary General thanked the Gabonese President for receiving the OPEC delegation and for the warm hospitality. He also congratulated the President for his country’s decision to rejoin the Organization, a relationship which HE Barkindo described as mutually beneficial.
HE Mohammad Barkindo provided the President with an overview of the current oil price cycle, which started in 2014. He called it one of the most severe price cycles in recent years, with prices dropping by 80%, and described how it has been affecting the market, as well as the industry.
The Secretary General also described the ongoing collaborations between OPEC and non-OPEC producers, which are built on the solid foundation established by last year’s supply adjustment decisions, including the historic Declaration of Cooperation. He highlighted the impact it has had on the market so far, particularly the drawing down of stocks by 90 mb from more than 300 mb in January 2017.
Additionally, he briefed the President on the decisions taken in May to extend the adjustments for nine additional months, starting from July, as well as the outcome of the most recent meeting of the Joint OPEC/non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) in St. Petersburg, Russia.
“I am optimistic that the market will be rebalanced – and together with the help of Gabon we will restore stability to the market,” the Secretary General said in his closing remarks to the President.
Earlier in the week on Tuesday, the Secretary General met with the country’s Minister of Petroleum and Hydrocarbons, during which he had an opportunity to offer the congratulations of both the OPEC Secretariat and its Member Countries to Gabon and its people for having rejoined OPEC. The Secretary General called it a wise and strategic decision, made in the interest of the Gabonese people. “I am confident that we can work together for the benefit of both OPEC and Gabon,” he said.
The Minister thanked the Secretary General and the OPEC delegation for their visit. This is the first time HE Barkindo has visited Gabon in his capacity as OPEC Secretary General.
During the meeting, the OPEC delegation, and senior officials from Gabon’s Petroleum and Hydrocarbons Ministry listened to a presentation on recent oil developments in the country delivered by Mr. Etienne Lepoukou, Gabon’s Governor to OPEC. This was followed by a presentation about the OPEC Secretariat and a film about the history of the Organization.
Mr. Lepoukou, who was appointed OPEC Governor on the 11th of July, currently also serves as Minister Advisor at the Ministry.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Secretary General and the OPEC delegation, accompanied by Minister Ambouroue, visited Gabon Oil Company, the country’s National Oil Company. The company was set up in 2011.
They were received by its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Arnauld Calixte Engandji-Alansji, who briefed the group on the company’s history, its recent upstream activities and the different stages that the country has gone through in the development of its oil industry.
In his final comments, the Secretary General remarked that the pace of the development of Gabon’s onshore and offshore oil fields has been impressive.
The Secretary General had earlier visited Equatorial Guinea where he met with President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Prime Minister Francisco Pascual Eyegue Obama Asue and the country’s Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima. Equatorial Guinea joined OPEC in May of this year.