A Message from H.E. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary-General, OPEC, on the occasion of OPEC’s 60th Anniversary which took place on 14 September, 2020.
Excellencies, colleagues, dear friends,
Sixty years ago today, a small group of developing nations gathered in the Al-Shaab Hall in the Bab Al-Muaatham district in Baghdad. Fuad Rouhani of Iran; Dr. Tala’at al-Shaibani of Iraq; Ahmed Sayed Omar of Kuwait; Abdullah Al-Tariki of Saudi Arabia; and Dr. Juan Pablo Perez Alfonzo of Venezuela; together, decided on a course of action that changed the course of history. They agreed to found the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries ̶ OPEC.
This brave and pioneering act represented many things: firstly, it was a legitimate assertion of the right of peoples and nations to sovereignty over their natural resources. Secondly, it was an expression of a firm belief that cooperation and dialogue among nations are the most effective means of overcoming the industry’s challenges. OPEC remains committed to these guiding principles of respect among nations, equity, fairness and transparency.
The fact that OPEC has evolved and thrived over the last six decades is a source of tremendous pride for the entire OPEC Family. Throughout this time, we have faced highs and lows, trials and tribulations; yet here we are, sixty years later, a unified intergovernmental organization of 13 Member Countries, more relevant, acclaimed and necessary for the international energy industry than ever.
In recent years, our outreach to our non-OPEC partners has yielded the historic Declaration of Cooperation and was further elevated by the Charter of Cooperation. These historic decisions constitute a determination by 23 oil-producing countries to take the collective actions necessary to contribute to oil market stability. Indeed, to help mitigate the demand contraction that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, more producing countries expressed their solidarity with our efforts, through the historic meetings in April and June of this year.
To synthesize our story, we have prepared a documentary film that charts OPEC’s history, which I hope you all will enjoy.
OPEC’s unlikely journey is a cause for celebration and the Government of Iraq had graciously invited the entire OPEC Family to Baghdad to appropriately commemorate this special event. However, the global COVID-19 pandemic has meant that in the interests of safety, HE Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismaael, Iraq’s Oil Minister and Head of its Delegation to OPEC, has wisely postponed such an event. The rest of the OPEC Family understand that this is a necessary decision in order to save lives and protect people. We look forward to a post-pandemic occasion when we can return to our birthplace in Baghdad.
In honour of the Organization’s birthday, the Secretariat will be closed on Monday, 14 September 2020. This auspicious date will become a public holiday for OPEC. This offers an opportunity for all of us to reflect on our heritage and the precious principles that infuse everything our Organization does.
Therefore, I would like to wish you all a “Happy OPEC Day.” The COVID-19 pandemic provides a somber background, however, I can think of no greater tribute to our founder fathers than we continue to go diligently about our critical work, inspired by their guiding vision.