Nige­ria’ll find it dif­fi­cult to cut oil pro­duc­tion – Kachikwu

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - ’Femi Asu

AS the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Pe­tro­leum Ex­port­ing Coun­tries is keen to ex­tend ef­forts to ward off oil sup­ply glut and prop up prices, the Min­is­ter of State for Pe­tro­leum Re­sources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has said it is very dif­fi­cult for Nige­ria to re­duce its crude oil pro­duc­tion.

Global oil bench­mark, Brent crude, which rose to a four-year high of $86.74 per bar­rel in Oc­to­ber, fell be­low $60 per bar­rel in Novem­ber. It stood at $59.96 as of 6.20pm Nige­rian time on Thurs­day.

Kachikwu, who spoke on ‘Bloomberg Day­break: Europe’ on Thurs­day ahead of the OPEC meet­ing in Vi­enna, said there was a need for an ex­ten­sion of pro­duc­tion cuts to sta­bilise the global oil mar­ket.

The pro­duc­tion cuts deal, which be­gan on Jan­uary 1, 2017, in­di­cated that OPEC coun­tries and 10 NON-OPEC pro­duc­ers led by Rus­sia would cut a com­bined 1.8 mil­lion bar­rels per day in sup­plies to tackle over­sup­ply and prop up prices. It was later ex­tended till the end of 2018.

Nige­ria and Libya were ex­empted from the cuts as they dealt with in­ter­nal un­rest that had tar­geted their oil in­fra­struc­ture.

Asked if Nige­ria would be able to re­duce pro­duc­tion, Kachikwu said, “It is very dif­fi­cult to do that but where we are now, every­body must be seen to con­trib­ute. Ob­vi­ously, the smaller it is, the more amenable we are to par­tic­i­pate; the larger it is, the more we will strug­gle to par­tic­i­pate.

“We have got ex­emp­tion three times un­der­stand­ably. This time round, I think there is a de­ci­sion that every­body should be seen to chip in.”

Ac­cord­ing to the min­is­ter, Nige­ria’s oil pro­duc­tion is cur­rently around 1.73 mil­lion to 1.74 mil­lion bar­rels per day.

Last month, Saudi En­ergy Min­is­ter Khalid al-falih trav­elled to Libya and Nige­ria to press them on the ex­emp­tions, though no pub­lic com­mit­ments were an­nounced.

Falih, af­ter meet­ing with his Nige­rian coun­ter­part, Kachikwu, in Abuja, said some OPEC mem­bers were com­plain­ing in the sum­mer that the two coun­tries were over­pro­duc­ing and con­tribut­ing to ris­ing OPEC pro­duc­tion.

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