Friday, August 19

Oil hits $51 as Iran, Morocco back Barkindo’s OPEC leadership

Oil hits $51 as Iran, Morocco back Barkindo’s OPEC leadership

Mohammad Barkindo

Oil prices climbed to $51 per barrel on Friday, as Mohammad Barkindo, secretary-general of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), met envoys from Iran and Morocco over oil market stability and COP 22 climate change.

Reza Najafi, ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations and other international organizations, met with Barkindo to express Iran’s support in maintaining a steady oil market through both challenging times as well as during periods of prosperity.

Oil prices rallied at an eight-week old of $51 for Brent crude, and $48 per barrel for West Texas Intermediate (WTI).

Ali El Mhamdi, Morocco’s ambassador/permanent representative in Vienna, Austria, also visited Barkindo, promising his country’s support for OPEC and Barkindo’s leadership.

“I feel that OPEC is in the best of hands. We are facing challenging times and we need experience and a high profile, both of which you have,” he said.

El-Mhamdi said that apart from wanting to wish Barkindo well in his new responsibilities, his visit was also in connection with the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP 22) meeting to be held in Morocco between November 7 and 18, 2016.

“It is a tremendous event for us and I have been instructed by my government to conduct an outreach campaign for OPEC as I know already that the Organization will again be involved in the talks,” he affirmed.

“My request is for the Organization to be as visible as possible and I ask that OPEC’s participation be the best possible. It is great for my country to be able to extend this invitation.”

Barkindo pointed out that the climate change meetings were a priority for OPEC since the Organization had been involved in the negotiations since the establishment of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee by the UN general assembly in 1991.

He said this committee negotiated the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was adopted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

The Treaty entered into force in March 1994 and was presented to the first Conference of the Parties (COP1) meeting in Berlin, in 1995.

“The convention was the bible of our negotiations,” commented Barkindo, adding that it led to the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 and entered into force in February 2005.

“All this was made possible because of the active and constructive participation of all developing countries and OPEC,” he maintained.

Barkindo pointed out that he had been vice president at COP 1 in Berlin, working alongside former research scientist Angela Merkel, the current German chancellor.

“I actually attended and negotiated as Vice President on several occasions from COP 1 in Berlin to COP 15 in Copenhagen. So you can see that these negotiations are very personal to me.

“I know the position of Morocco very well and it is similar to most developing countries and OPEC. We intend to continue with this tradition in Marrakesh.

“Our experts and officials will have a meeting room there and they will convene meetings for OPEC Member Countries and other developing states. It is very important for the OPEC Secretariat to be in Marrakesh and I personally look forward to attending the high-level segment.

“All OPEC delegates will be supportive of the efforts of the Moroccan Presidency at COP 22.”

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