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124th Meeting of the OPEC Conference

The 124th Meeting of the Conference of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) convened in Vienna, Austria, on 11 March 2003, under the Chairmanship of its President, HE Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah, Minister of Energy & Industry of Qatar and Head of its Delegation.

The Conference welcomed the Minister of Petroleum of Angola, the Ambassador of Egypt to Austria representing the Minister of Petroleum of Egypt, the Under-Secretary of Hydrocarbons of Mexico, the Minister of Oil & Gas of the Sultanate of Oman, and the Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, whose presence at the Meeting is seen as renewed confirmation of their solidarity with the objectives of the Organization to stabilize the oil market.

The Conference reviewed the Secretary General’s report, the report of the Economic Commission Board, the report of the Ministerial Monitoring Sub-Committee (MMSC), and various administrative matters.

The Conference expressed its satisfaction at the rapid recovery of Venezuelan oil production and welcomed the restoration of normalcy to the oil industry of this important Founder Member.

Having reviewed the current market situation and its immediate prospects, the Conference noted that, whilst prices have been influenced by market fundamentals – such as the disruption of Venezuelan production in December 2002 and January 2003, the cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere and low OECD stock levels – the current high price levels above the OPEC price band are predominantly a reflection of uncertainties resulting from prevailing geopolitical tensions.

In light of the supply/demand picture for the balance of the first quarter and the second quarter, the Conference decided to maintain, for the time being, the current OPEC production ceiling, as supplies are adequate to meet current market requirements, taking into consideration the restoration of Venezuelan production to normal levels and the traditionally lower seasonal demand in the second quarter.

In addition, noting the uncertainties stemming from increasing geopolitical tensions and while expressing its hope that peace and tranquility will prevail, the Conference reiterated OPEC’s determination to ensure that the market remains stable and well supplied, the Organization having repeatedly demonstrated its ability and willingness to continue to satisfy oil market demands in a timely fashion.

In the future, OPEC will closely monitor market developments and will take appropriate and prompt action, as and when the need arises.

In view of the aforementioned uncertainties, the Conference repeated its standing call on other oil producers and exporters to continue to co-operate with OPEC to achieve oil market balance for the benefit of both producers and consumers.

The Conference passed Resolutions that will be published on 11 April 2003, after ratification by Member Countries.

The next Ordinary Meeting of the Conference will be convened in Vienna, Austria, on 24 September 2003.

The Conference expressed its appreciation to the Government of the Federal Republic of Austria and the authorities of the City of Vienna for their warm hospitality and the excellent arrangements made for the Meeting

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