Vienna, Austria, October 9, 2019. THE Director General of the OPEC International Development Fund Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa and Dr Alexander Schallenberg, Austrian Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, signed a protocol amending the headquarters agreement between the OPEC International Development Fund and the Republic of Austria. At the signing ceremony, Dr. Alkhalifa described Austria as a “gracious and supportive” host and said that the OPEC Fund had sought to “give back” to its host country and to the city of Vienna through various activities and programmes, with nearly 50 grants awarded to Austrian NGOs. Dr Alkhalifa added: “This agreement implies the commitment of the Republic of Austria to ensure that the OPEC Fund maintains its position as an important organisation with its headquarters in Vienna and effectively fulfils its development mandate.” Dr. Schallenberg thanked Dr. Alkhalifa for the long-standing collaboration and “remarkable work” of the OPEC Fund and called it an enrichment for the city of Vienna and referred to its support for local NGOs and participation in important forums such as the annual Vienna Energy Forum. Regarding the newly signed agreement, Dr Schallenberg said: “I am convinced that this protocol creates a solid basis for increasingly close cooperation between the Austrian government and the OPEC Fund in the years to come.” An innovative mechanism of the OPEC oil price band helped strengthen and stabilize oil prices in the early years of the decade. However, a combination of market forces, speculation and other factors changed the situation in 2004, pushed up prices and increased volatility in a well-stocked crude oil market. Oil was increasingly used as an asset class. Prices reached a record high in mid-2008, before collapsing in the looming global financial turmoil and economic recession.
OPEC has been known as part of global efforts to address the economic crisis to support the oil sector. The second and third OPEC summits in Caracas and Riyadh in 2000 and 2007 established energy market stability, sustainable development and the environment as three key themes and adopted a long-term comprehensive strategy in 2005. One country joined OPEC, another reactivated its membership and a third suspended it. In 2010, the global economy was the main risk to the oil market at the beginning of the decade, with global macroeconomic uncertainties and increased risks to the international financial system weighing on economies. The escalation of social unrest in many parts of the world has affected both supply and demand in the first half of the decade, although the market has remained relatively balanced. Prices were stable between 2011 and mid-2014, before a combination of speculation and oversupply declined in 2014. The structure of trade continued, demand continued to increase in Asian countries and contracted overall in the OECD. The global focus on multilateral environmental issues has begun to strengthen, with expectations of a new UN agreement on climate change. OPEC continued its efforts to ensure market stability and sought to intensify its dialogue and cooperation with consumers and non-OPEC producers. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent intergovernmental organization created by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela at the Baghdad Conference of September 10-14, 1960. The five founding members then joined Qatar (1961) – resigned in January 2019; Indonesia (1962) – suspended its membership in January 2009, reactivated it in January 2016, but decided to suspend it again in November 2016; Libya (1962); United Arab Emirates (1967); Algeria (1969); Nigeria (1971); Ecuador (1973) – suspended its membership in December 1992, reactivated it in October 2007, but decided to withdraw its membership effective January 1, 2020; Angola (2007); Gabon (1975) ended its