//Speech of H.E. Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada- 18th Ministerial Meeting

Speech of H.E. Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada- 18th Ministerial Meeting

Honorable Ministers,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Marhaba; Ahlan wa Sahlan, and a very good morning to you all.

It is my pleasure to welcome all of you to Doha, State of Qatar, the seat of our Forum’s headquarters.  My special welcome to those who have joined us in Doha for this important meeting for the first time.  I hope you will enjoy your stay and have a successful meeting.

This is our 18th Ministerial Meeting since we began our collective strive to safeguard our interests in the gas sector.  Today, we are meeting at the time of transitional changes in the energy market in general and in gas market in particular.  The changes that are bringing both opportunities and challenges for all of us as gas exporting countries. 

Since last year in Tehran, global gas market developments have been changing the dynamics of the market even in a more rapid way than before.

The good news of course is the demand for natural gas grew in 2015 by 1.9%, more than double of that of 2014* and is expected to continue to grow during the next year albeit with lower pace.  The supply side developments, however, are shaping new dynamics and trends in the markets and, as a result, is set to create a new environment of competitiveness.  It is indeed a time to encourage closer exchange of views and experiences among us in order to explore ways of possible cooperation and coordination as core value of the Forum’s strategy.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we are meeting here in Doha, COP22 is also taking place in Marrakesh. The global commitment to fight climate change is gaining momentum even more and faster than expected.  The COP21 targets became legally binding early this month. 

However, more nations have yet to join and more efforts have to be made to reach the target of keeping the global warming within 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and make every effort to limit average temperature increase to 1.5°C.   It is exactly in this context that we as the gas exporting countries should take the opportunity to present the case of gas as the fuel of choice and as a source of energy that can contribute to the above cause, the most.  We believe that gas with its clean premium is to play a major role if it is well appreciated and not discriminated by regulations and policies.

I am of the opinion that gas will benefit from the global environmental movement and will help lower CO2 emissions and create cleaner air with much less pollution as it is the only practical and available bridge today to a low carbon future.  We should take it seriously and plan for it.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The 18th Ministerial meeting, as I understand, is a special one for two reasons:  Firstly, because of the conditions of the market we are facing now and in the near future that require us to address it as appropriately and as early as we can; and secondly because of two important documents that have been made ready for our attention, namely, the GECF Long Term strategy and the GECF Global Gas Outlook 2040.  These are two important milestones in the history of our organization. After several years of working on them, now they are ready for our approval. 
We thank the efforts of the Secretariat and the valuable contribution of Member Countries under the Chairmanship of Algeria. 

The Long Term Strategy defines the Organization’s vision, mission, strategic goals and long-term priority objectives. It also includes key strategic instruments and initiatives to successfully achieve each of its priority objectives.  The adoption of this document is very important at this stage as this is going to be the first GECF Long term strategy that will pave the way ahead of us for the years to come.
We also support the GECF Outlook that has been completed after hard work of the Secretariat’s close cooperation with our national representatives in the Technical and Economic Council.  Among the various forecasts that are published in the energy sector for the gas industry, this is the first independent Gas outlook from the perspective of reliable producers.  I am sure it will be found very useful by the GECF members and will garner their full support.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Executive Board as well as the Secretariat for a job well done completing these two important documents.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would also like to inform you that as the President of the Ministerial Meeting I established a close relation with the Secretariat, paying a number of visits to the Secretariat headquarters during this year, meeting with the Secretary General as well as the analysts and technical experts of the Secretariat. 

I had an opportunity to get firsthand reports of the activities and studies and discussing with them gas market developments for both the short and long term.

I take this opportunity to also recall that in my opinion, the monthly report that has been implemented since January 2016 as a trial year, has reached a maturity to be shared with the public as one of the Forum’s publications.

As I mentioned in my letter of last summer to you about my visits, the commitment and the hard work of the Secretariat have been commendable and of high quality.  I found their work very credible to be used and referred to by all of us in our lectures and addresses; and I encourage you to do so.

In fact, the two important draft documents of Long term Strategy and GECF Outlook are the result of such praiseworthy endeavors.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before I conclude, I hope that you will have some free time to enjoy the nice weather in Doha.  I highly recommend visiting Katara Cultural Village where they are currently hosting the 6th Traditional Dhow Festival.  I am sure you will enjoy the colorful sights they offer.

I conclude my address by wishing you very productive deliberations and fruitful exchange that will hopefully go a long way in making this 18th Ministerial Meeting a grand success.

Thank you very much for your attention.
*Gas demand for 2014 was 0.8%, while it was 1.9% in 2015, and will be 1.6% in 2016.

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