The 25th Ministerial Meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum was held on 10 October 2023 in Malabo, Republic of Equatorial Guinea. His Excellency Antonio Oboro Ondo, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, chaired the meeting in his capacity as Chairman of the 2023 Gas Exporting Countries Forum Ministerial Meeting.
2. The Ministerial Meeting affirmed the Forum’s established goal of supporting the permanent sovereignty of its member states over their natural resources, with the aim of independently and sustainably planning, developing, managing, using and preserving natural gas resources for the benefit of their people.
3. Gas Exporting Countries Forum member countries play a prominent role in the energy landscape, collectively accounting for 70% of global natural gas reserves and 42% of marketed natural gas.
In celebration of the silver jubilee, the meeting was attended by energy ministers and senior officials from member states Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. In addition, representatives of observer states Angola, Azerbaijan and Mozambique participated. The opening session was also attended by prominent figures from the guest country Mauritania, as well as representatives of the African Oil Producing Organization (APPO).
4. The Ministerial Meeting expressed its deepest condolences and expressed deep sympathy to the leadership and citizens of Libya in the wake of the devastating floods that claimed many lives and disrupted livelihoods.
5. In his opening remarks, His Excellency Minister Antonio Uboro Ondo said: “We meet at a critical moment as the world grapples with the energy triple dilemma of security, sustainability and affordability. As it is the cleanest fuel, it provides a balanced solution. It remains central to the future energy landscape, driving economic growth, social progress, poverty alleviation and environmental protection.
6. The Ministerial Meeting welcomed the Islamic Republic of Mauritania joining the Forum as its newest member, and expressed its best wishes to the leadership and people of Mauritania as they begin to play the role of an LNG exporter. This expansion represents a major achievement in the forum’s strategy for communication, dialogue and cooperation.
7. Satisfaction was also recorded with the recent signing of memorandums of understanding with the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) and the International Gas Union (IGU).
8. The meeting stressed the critical importance of cooperation among member countries, and stressed the Forum’s consistent support for constructive and enhanced dialogues between producers, consumers and relevant stakeholders, with the aim of ensuring security of supply and demand. He also stressed the need for open and transparent gas markets, with unhindered access and non-discriminatory functioning.
9. In examining recent developments in the short-term gas market and immediate forecasts, the Ministerial Meeting noted with satisfaction the continued growth in demand for natural gas, the number of countries importing LNG, and, despite the mild winter season, the expansion of renewable and nuclear energy production, and measures to reduce Demand based policies in some countries. He also recognized the resilience of global gas supplies, as well as the sustainable gas production of member states of the forum, which contributes to enhancing global energy security. While prices have fallen significantly compared to last year’s summer levels, and volatility has decreased, gas markets will nonetheless remain tight if the coming winter is colder than usual in the Northern Hemisphere. The ministers also noted that in the medium term, market tightness will begin to ease after 2025 when the majority of new LNG projects are set to be appointed, with Gas Exporting Countries Forum member states leading this expansion.
10. The meeting took note of the updated version of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum’s Global Gas Outlook for 2050, which projects a sustainable increase in primary energy consumption over the next three decades. This growth is based on the rise in the world population and the doubling of the size of the global economy by 2050. Forecasts expect an increase in natural gas consumption by 36%, and the contribution of natural gas to the global energy mix is expected from the current 23% to 26% by 2050. This The leadership position makes it the dominant source of energy, overtaking coal, oil, and even renewables, although the latter is the fastest growing energy sector during this period.
11. The meeting welcomed the efforts made by the member countries of the forum to reduce gas flaring, methane emissions, and the carbon footprint of natural gas operations. He also emphasized the critical role of technology in making natural gas cleaner, such as carbon capture, utilization and storage, as well as low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia.
12. The Ministerial Meeting resoundingly reaffirmed its steadfast support for African countries in their determined quest to eradicate energy poverty, recognizing the profound need for this mission in the face of grim statistics. It is a stark reality that more than 600 million people in Africa still lack access to electricity, while more than 970 million people do not have access to clean cooking. Moreover, the meeting stressed the urgent role of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the need to implement them in a comprehensive and harmonious manner, taking into account their economic, social and environmental dimensions. This comprehensive approach is consistent with concerns highlighted by the latest UN progress report on the Sustainable Development Goals, which unfortunately reveals that nearly half of the goals are behind schedule.
13 – The meeting also emphasized the fundamental role of investment and the necessity of creating an environment that encourages unrestricted investment and enhances financial cooperation across continents. He also stressed the importance of ensuring equitable access to all technologies. These measures have an effective role in maintaining the stability of energy supply and demand, taking into account national circumstances, capabilities and priorities.
14 – In this context, the meeting warned against misleading calls to stop investment in natural gas. Such actions could lead to supply shortages, price inflation, and a potential return to coal, as seen in 2022, undermining emissions reduction targets.
15. Furthermore, the meeting reaffirmed the critical importance of protecting critical gas infrastructure, both nationally and internationally, to facilitate the smooth flow of natural gas. He stressed the need to protect these facilities from natural disasters, technological accidents, man-made threats and deliberate attacks.
16. The meeting expressed its deep support for the United Arab Emirates, the host country of COP 28, for its exemplary preparations for the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference. He stressed the need to highlight the importance of regulated, fair and equitable energy transitions that leave no one behind. He reaffirmed the pivotal role that natural gas plays in achieving climate goals, eliminating energy poverty, and achieving the United Nations sustainable development goals. In addition, it expressed its support for the COP28 Pavilion of the Exporting Countries Forum and called on Member States to partner and actively participate in the programs organized at the Pavilion during COP28.
17. The ministerial meeting considered the management report presented by His Excellency the Engineer. Muhammad Hammal, Secretary-General, then approved the financial report for 2022, the five-year work plan, and the work program and budget for 2024.
18. The meeting expressed its satisfaction with the significant progress achieved by the Gas Research Institute (GRI), highlighted by the ratification of the headquarters agreement for the initiative on July 29, 2023, in Algiers.
19. The Ministers also expressed their satisfaction with the progress made by the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria in preparations for the Seventh Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Exporting Countries Forum, to be held in Algiers on 2 March 2024.
20. The ministerial meeting appointed His Excellency Eng. Javad Auchi, Minister of Oil of the Islamic Republic of Iran, chaired the 2024 Ministerial Meeting, and the Honorable R. presence. Ekperekebe Ekpo, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as Alternate Chairman for the same period. Furthermore, the ministerial meeting appointed Sheikh Meshal bin Jabr Al Thani, a member of the Executive Council from the State of Qatar, as Chairman of the Executive Council for the year 2024, and Mr. Augustin Mba Okumu, a member of the Executive Council from the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, as alternate Chairman. Chairman of the Board of Directors for the same period.
21. The 26th Ministerial Meeting of the Exporting Countries Forum will be held in Isfahan, Islamic Republic of Iran, in the last quarter of 2024.
The ministers and heads of delegations expressed their appreciation to His Excellency Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. They also expressed their sincere gratitude to His Excellency António Oboro Ondo for leading and managing the Forum under the Presidency of Equatorial Guinea, and finally to the Government and people of Equatorial Guinea for their warm hospitality and excellent arrangements.
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