OPEC Postpones 60th Anniversary Celebration Due to Pandemic
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Secretariat of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has decided to postpone the meeting of the group dedicated to the cartel’s 60th anniversary due to the restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposal to call off the event came from Iraq, the host country, according to the official statement from OPEC on Friday.
The meeting was originally planned for September in Baghdad, where the organisation was founded back in 1960 during an oil conference.
Iraq’s Oil Minister and Head of its Delegation to OPEC, Mr Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismaael, said in a letter to Mr Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary-General, that it is “genuinely disappointed” that it wouldn’t be able to 60th Anniversary, otherwise known as the Diamond Anniversary following months of preparations for the event.”
“I am sincerely disappointed that I will not be able to host the 60th anniversary of OPEC after months of preparation for this historic event,” he further wrote.
The minister stressed that “health and safety are now more important than anything else.”
On the part the cartel, Mr Barkindo said, “It is very unfortunate that we are unable to mark OPEC’s Diamond Anniversary in September at the same site where the historic ‘Baghdad Conference’ was held between 10 and 14 September 1960.”
“It was a historic meeting in all senses that saw the common vision and wisdom of our Founder Members and led to the creation of a foresighted organization that grew in stature and influence to become a distinguished entity within the global energy community.
“Yet we look forward with high anticipation to attend OPEC’s homecoming in the very near future,” he added.
OPEC was founded in September 1960 at an oil conference in Baghdad by five states – Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Later, other countries joined them. Nigeria joined in 1975 and now its membership has grown to 13.
OPEC accounts for a third of all world oil production. Since 2017, OPEC has been working with Russia and a number of other countries to regulate oil production under an agreement known as OPEC+. The agreement helps avoid oversupply and oil price volatility.
This month, OPEC is also marking the 55th year since the Organization’s Secretariat moved to the Austrian capital of Vienna.
Meanwhile, the price of OPEC basket of crudes stood at $43.36 a barrel on Thursday, compared with $45.03 per barrel the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations released today.
The OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Djeno (Congo), Zafiro (Equatorial Guinea), Rabi Light (Gabon), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela).