OPEC’s 60th anniversary celebrations have been postponed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The celebrations were originally scheduled to take place this month in Baghdad, where OPEC was originally founded. In addition to its 60th anniversary, this September also marks the 55th year since organization’s secretariat moved to the Austrian capital of Vienna.
In a letter send to OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Iraq’s oil minister and head of the country’s delegation to OPEC, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismaael, said the development was “genuinely disappointing”. The minister emphasized in the letter, however, that the health and safety of all are “of utmost importance”.
“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,” Barkindo said in an OPEC statement published on the group’s website.
“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,” he added.
“Yet we look forward with high anticipation to attend OPEC’s homecoming in the very near future,” Barkindo went on to say.
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization that was established by the founding members of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Its membership has since grown to 13 oil producing countries, with new joinees comprising Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Libya, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.
The organization has swapped live events for virtual ones this year following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and even agreed to historic production cuts of near 10 million barrels per day through video conferencing. Several other oil and gas events have moved to a digital format or been postponed in 2020 since the emergence of the virus.
As of September 6, 2:14pm CEST, there have been 26.7 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 globally, with 876,616 deaths, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO). The region that has been worst affected by the virus is the Americas, WHO data shows. As of September 6, this region has registered 14 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 484,079 deaths, according to WHO figures.
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