Representing the lifeblood of global economy, two of the world’s foremost energy organisations the GECF (Gas Exporting Countries Forum) and OAPEC (Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries) held a meeting on Monday, 31 August, to give a thrust to their bilateral relationship.
The virtual meeting between the secretariats of the GECF in Doha and OAPEC in Kuwait City took stock of the current development in their cooperation as well as reflected on the impact of COVID-19, which has upended the energy markets around the world.
The meeting enjoyed the participation of senior officials from the GECF and OAPEC and paved the way for further cooperation in the future. By leveraging their own advantages to deepen cooperation, the alliance between the GECF and OAPEC is expected to spur development in the oil and gas sectors through research and data exchange that advances greater understanding of the market conditions, expanded technical assistance, and access to latest findings and insights.
Similar to the GECF, which is a coalition of 20 Member Countries spanning four continents promoting the use of natural gas, OAPEC is a gathering of 11 Arab petroleum exporting countries working to enhance the coordination among its members. Together, they share at least six members, namely, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
The officials at the meeting explored potential areas of cooperation, mainly through joint reports and expert commentaries, guest speeches by OAPEC experts at the GECF, and participation in workshops and conferences of mutual interest. The OAPEC officials pointed out three categories where cooperation was feasible: (1) Technical studies and reports, (2) OAPEC annual meeting on gas expert group, and (3) International cooperation in the field of natural gas.
The OAPEC’s technical studies and reports on natural gas typically focus on current and prospect of eastern Mediterranean gas discoveries, shale gas boom in the US and impacts on global LNG market, use of LNG as a marine fuel in light of new International Maritime Organisation (IMO) sulphur cap, and a quarterly report on natural gas market developments.
In the area of human resources, both the GECF and OAPEC agreed to review the possibility of cooperating in knowledge sharing, job training, and short-term assignments, especially in light of the current pandemic challenges. In the field of data exchange, the GECF registered interest in OAPEC’s vast data library which it utilises in some of its natural gas models. As a next step, the two sides agreed to appoint focal teams to monitor progress in the development of the relationship leading up to the signing of the MoU at the secretary generals’ level.