Vienna, Austria, 8 August 2016–The OPEC Secretariat was deeply saddened to hear about the passing away of Prof Robert Mabro, one of the international energy sector’s most respected academics and “a dear friend of OPEC”.
Mabro, 81, passed away on 26 July 2016 while on holiday on the Greek island of Crete, according to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, the think-tank he founded in 1982 and was Director of for more than 20 years.
“He was an eminent scholar, a distinguished pillar in the oil and gas industry and a personal friend,” commented OPEC’s new Secretary General, HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo.
He said the Organization, in particular, had lost a dear friend. “Prof Mabro was a strong believer in the role of OPEC in ensuring security of supply to the market in a stable manner. He was also a strong advocate of cooperation between the industry’s main parties.
“It was, therefore, a great honour for us at OPEC when he won the Organization’s first prestigious Award for Research that was launched in 2004,” noted HE Barkindo.
Mabro, an Emeritus Fellow of St Anthony’s College, Oxford University, and a Fellow of St Catherine’s College, Oxford, worked tirelessly throughout his career and through the institutions he set up to bring oil producers and also producers and consumers closer together.
He faced many challenges but remained undaunted in his work. He was always close to oil market and OPEC affairs. In 1986, when the price of crude oil fell below $10 a barrel, Mabro structured meetings between OPEC and non-OPEC producers as a means of restoring oil stability.
And, in 1998, he was again instrumental in helping OPEC and non-OPEC producers reach an agreement that helped reestablish market order during the Asian financial crisis.
“It was a difficult time and his unquestionable skills of mediation helped us find a solution,” observed HE Barkindo.
Mabro, in a paper released at the time, said: “Changes in policy are always possible, even likely, when significant revenue losses are at stake.”
He also proved to be a firm supporter of the Riyadh-based International Energy Forum (IEF), which brings oil producers and consumers together under one umbrella.
Robert Emile Mabro was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in December 1934. With degrees in Civil Engineering and Economics, he began his academic career at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University. In 1969, he took up a position at Oxford University as Senior Research Officer in the Economics of the Middle East.
His interest in oil began in earnest in 1972 when he helped pen a paper on ‘Oil Producers and Consumers: Conflict or Cooperation’. Four years later, he helped found the Oxford Energy Policy Club.
Mabro then went on to establish the Oxford Energy Seminar in 1979, followed by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, of which he was made Honorary President in 2006.
Throughout his career he received numerous awards for his outstanding contributions to energy and energy economics.
In December 1995, Mabro was honored by Queen Elizabeth when she made him a Commander of the British Empire. Two years later, the medal of the Mexican Order of Aguila Azteca was bestowed on him by the country’s President. And in 2000, the President of Venezuela awarded him the medal of Francisco Miranda.
Mabro received his OPEC Award for Research at the Second OPEC International Seminar, which was held in Vienna, in September 2004.
His various publications include 13 books and monographs and an extensive range of papers and articles in journals. His most recent book ‘Oil Markets and Prices: The Brent Market and the Formation of World Oil Prices’ was completed with fellow research associate, Paul Horsnell.
The OPEC Secretariat would like to extend its deepest sympathy and condolences to his wife, Judith, and their two daughters.