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Austria’s Foreign Minister Will Not Attend OPEC Conference Amid Media Ban

Austria’s Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg will not be attending next week’s OPEC conference in Vienna after the cartel once again excluded reporters from some of the biggest news organizations from covering the event that will include industry leaders and officials, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

The dispute between OPEC and several media organizations arose early in June, when reporters from Reuters, Bloomberg, and The Wall Street Journal were not accredited to cover OPEC’s meeting on June 3-4 at OPEC’s headquarters in Vienna.

In early July, Vienna will host the 8th OPEC International Seminar, which will be held in the Hofburg Palace, owned by the Austrian state. Speakers will include OPEC officials and ministers, as well as the chief executives of Saudi Aramco, TotalEnergies, Eni, Oxy, Halliburton, Vitol, Hess Corporation, Petrobras, and OMV, among others.

OPEC has withheld media access to the conference for Reuters, Bloomberg, and the Journal, too.

“For the sake of market transparency, we strongly advocate for OPEC to allow journalists from relevant global news outlets to attend,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

So, Austria, formally the host of the event, will not be represented by its foreign minister, FT reports.

According to a speaker for Schallenberg cited by FT, the foreign minister believes that “media freedom” including “coverage of political developments” is a “cornerstone of any democratic society”.

The office of Schallenberg told FT the minister’s decision not to attend the OPEC event was a result of a “scheduling” conflict, but highlighted the role of press freedom. 

OPEC hasn’t publicly commented on why it has blacklisted the three media organizations. Saudi Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, has reportedly instigated the media ban, FT has reported.

At OPEC’s latest meeting in early June, the OPEC+ alliance agreed to extend the current production cuts through 2024, while Saudi Arabia announced a unilateral 1 million bpd cut for July.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on June 30 2023 said:
    It isn’t difficult to explain why next week’s OPEC conference in Vienna will exclude again reporters from Reuters, Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal. The reason is that they tend to spread Western disinformation about OPEC and the market.

    Three years ago OPEC banned the use of data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) because it tends to publish distorted and negative data aimed at depressing oil prices for the benefit of its oil consuming member States who are overwhelmingly Western nations.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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