05 Sep 2017, Astana, Kazakhstan — The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) held its ‘Special Day’ at Expo2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The event represents the climax of 93 days of participation by OPEC at the Expo and reinforced the thriving relationship between the Republic of Kazakhstan and OPEC.
Expo2017 is the most recent iteration of a tradition of world fairs, also known as Expos, heralding back to 1851. An Expo is a global event that aims to educate the public, share innovation, promote progress and foster cooperation. It is organized by a host country who invites other countries, companies, international organizations, the private sector and the general public to participate. The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is the intergovernmental organization which oversees and regulates World Expos. Astana was chosen in 2012 as the host for the Specialized Exposition in 2017.
National or ‘Special Day’ celebrations are occasions for Expo participants to raise awareness of their activities and purpose, in order to strengthen relations between countries and international organizations. OPEC has used this opportunity to showcase the Organization, highlight its role in tackling the challenges faced by the energy industry and forge links with Expo visitors and participants. OPEC has also had a pavilion at Expo2017 since the exposition opened its doors on 4 June and it has proven popular with visitors who have shown great interest in the Organization and its publications.
The OPEC Special Day was opened by Mr. Magzum Mirzagaliyev, Vice Minister of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Head of the Kazakh delegation. Several other high-ranking dignitaries from Kazakhstan were also in attendance, including representatives from the “Astana EXPO 2017 National Company,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Energy. Additionally, among the attendees were distinguished guests from across the energy industry, including the World Petroleum Council, as well as delegates from OPEC Member Countries and members of the public.
The Head of the OPEC Secretariat’s Public Relations and Information Department (PRID), Mr. Hasan Hafidh, delivered opening remarks on behalf of the Secretary General, HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo. This was followed by a screening of the OPEC film entitled “Instrument of Change,” which provided a brief overview of the history of the Organization. Mr. Eissa Alzerma, Oil Price Analyst at the Petroleum Studies Department, then gave a general presentation on the current state of the oil market.
Following the presentation, the Kazakh hosts brought the OPEC Secretariat delegation on a tour of the entire Expo, which included visiting the magnificent national pavilions of several OPEC Member Countries. Participating OPEC Member Countries have impressed visitors with the originality and innovation they have displayed in constructing pavilions related to the Expo theme of “Future Energy.”
Expo2017 occurs at an auspicious time for relations between OPEC and Kazakhstan. In 2016, Kazakhstan was a participant to the historic ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ between OPEC Member Countries and 11 non-OPEC oil producing countries. This landmark cooperation is an effort by leading oil producing nations to ensure much needed market stability. In May 2017, the participating countries agreed to extend the voluntary production adjustments for a further nine months, with a view to ensuring a sustainable oil market for the benefit of producers, consumers, the industry and the global economy.
“Cooperation with OPEC is a priority for our country,” said Mr. Mirzagaliyev in his opening remarks. He outlined Kazakhstan’s steadfast support for the Declaration of Cooperation and its monitoring mechanisms, appreciation for the constructive dialogue with OPEC and commitment to further develop relations with the Organization. Mr. Hafidh complemented these sentiments saying, “Kazakhstan is a valued and important partner for OPEC. We look forward to enhancing our cooperation in the future.” He also paid tribute to Kazakhstan’s people and Government for organizing an outstanding Expo and being gracious hosts.
With both parties determined to further enhance their mutually beneficial cooperation, the future of OPEC-Kazakh relations look set to continue to blossom.