World Bulletin / News Desk
OPEC and the American shale oil industry have been regarded as in direct competition. The additional supply from the U.S. to an already over-saturated oil market has often been blamed for plummeting prices.
"We, in OPEC, never had a war with the U.S. shale," Barkindo said at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, Texas, putting to rest perceptions of rivalry between the two major groups.
The oil cartel is composed of sovereign nation members, but shale oil producers are American private companies, making it harder for OPEC to have intergovernmental contact with the U.S. shale sector.
"We did meet with shale oil producers in the U.S., who shared with us their experiences, their managerial ingenuity of how to lower their costs and increase efficiency. The did a great job," Barkindo said.
American oil producers bore the brunt after oil prices began their steep decline in mid-2014. Last year, however, they adapted to a low-price environment by managing to survive with less capital.
Barkindo said OPEC has a lot to learn from U.S. shale oil companies, although communication between the two players was seen unconventional in the past.
"It was almost a taboo for OPEC to meet with other market actors before. But the times have changed, the market changed ... We all belong to the same boat. This downturn effected all the industry," he said.
A deal between OPEC members and several non-member countries took effective in January, but it does not include the U.S. oil producers.
Barkindo praised the world's biggest oil producer Russia for participating in the deal, saying that Moscow "leads the other 10 non-OPEC countries" with a major contribution to the joint agreement.
Barkindo said the current high levels of global oil inventory would be assessed before extending the deal for the second half of this year.