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Al-Falih’s First OPEC Mission: Successful | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Khalid Al-Falih Minister of Energy. Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia speaks to journalists prior to the start of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, at their headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AP)

Vienna- A week ago, no one concerned with the oil industry had expected for the OPEC June meeting to end in amiable accord, despite the deep running dispute among member states.

Ghosts of doubt hovered over the meeting being successful. The failure of the April Doha meeting and the oil producers – whether a part of OPEC or not- indecision on limiting oil production still lingered in the minds of analysts, journalist and the oil news’ reading public.

Alarm further expanded as to the settings of OPEC countries themselves.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest oil producer, had announced a future roadmap which is independent of oil rates and the Saud national Aramco going for the stock option plan.

As for Iran, the third ranking oil OPEC producer, did not wish to support any decisions on freezing crude production.

Not to mention that Nigeria already suffers the cut of production due to internal conflicts, while Algeria and Venezuela both wish for OPEC to seek freezing production.

Nonetheless, those who attended the meeting and encountered the oil ministers before and after the meeting, would arrive to a different conclusion; Aramco’s newly assigned CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih had achieved remarkable progress and proved highly qualified to run the organization in dire times and pump life back to it.

Al-Falih’s success had influenced the OPEC ministerial meeting to become amiable towards common interest, in addition to the appointment of a new OPEC Secretary General.

Nigeria’s Mohammed Barkindo was elected the new OPEC Secretary General, replacing the former Libyan oil minister Abdalla El-Badri, and is to resume post next month.

Despite that freezing production remains an unsettled argument; the meeting was still considered a dashing success. Even Iranian oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, who is known for stern stances and difference with Saudi peers, told Bloomberg that the meeting was good and that its atmosphere was dominantly positive.

“We had a meeting without any tension,” Zanganeh said in an interview in Vienna on Friday. “We should work with each other, we are neighbors, we are counterparts in OPEC,” he said, referring to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states, reported Bloomberg.

Moreover, speaking to press, Saudi Aramco CEO Al-Falih considered the most realistic decision is to leave OPEC production unrestricted the way it currently is.

He explained that drawing limits on production would place the group in an unnecessary dilemma. “Should we inhibit production to a lower rate than the actual one, we would be allowing the market to further expand- which opposes what we pursue – and should place the limit to the current effective rate or higher, it would not make a difference.”