With members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) anxiously awaiting the rescheduled emergency meeting of the group on Thursday, Nigeria has expressed its readiness to contribute to the effort to strengthen and stabilise the oil market.
The Nigerian head of delegation to OPEC and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipreye Sylva, said in a statement on Monday that Nigeria is committed to play its role to bring a consensus that would be to the mutual benefit all.
“The Government of Nigeria wishes to assure the Nigerian and international communities that it is watching developments in the oil and gas industry with keen interest. Specifically, Nigeria is very mindful and appreciative of the role of Saudi Arabia and other members of the OPEC family.
“As Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, I will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our, and the global, economy.
“In our consultations with global industry stakeholders in the lead up to the OPEC+ meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 09, 2020, the Nigerian Government will take a position that is in the best interest of our short term and long-term economic forecast.
“It is well known that Nigeria has always collaborated with key OPEC members such as Saudi Arabia in maintaining a balanced position that has helped to make OPEC one of the most successful global institutions in recent history.
“Nigeria intends to maintain this team spirit even as it takes into account, the position of OPEC strategic allies, such as Russia and its allies.
“As always, the driving force of our OPEC policy is first the stability of our national economy as well as the stability of the global economy, which is heavily dependent on OPEC and its strategic partners, popularly referred to as OPEC+.
“Nigeria, like the rest of the world, has been hit by the Global Pandemic, COVID-19, and is prepared to join the rest of the world in making the necessary sacrifices needed to stabilize the crude oil market; and to prevent what is likely to be a major global economic meltdown,” the minister said.
The emergency meeting of the group and other members was earlier scheduled for Monday in an attempt to strike a deal to cut production output to strengthen crude oil prices.
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The meeting which was expected to be a virtual video conference was scheduled at a time OPEC daily basket crude oil price plunged to an all-time low level of $16.87 per barrel last Wednesday.
In an attempt to halt the plunge, OPEC secretariat officials said Saudi Arabia, the group’s largest producer, called the meeting expected to involve Russia and other non-OPEC allies, in an attempt to reach a consensus on output cuts to halt the rapid slide in crude oil prices in recent times.
The United States President, Donald Trump, had said he was able to prevail on the Saudi Arabia to convene the meeting to allow members end the price wars and agree on production cuts to restore “balance” to the oil market.
The low oil price has negatively affected U.S. shale producers, many of whom had to stop oil production due to the cost of production.
The last time OPEC attempted to take a decision on a 2.5 million barrels cut, Russia mobilised its allies to frustrate the Saudi Arabia-led effort, resulting in a decline in price below $30 per barrel.
With the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus hitting hard on the global economy, crude oil prices have continued to drop since then, withNigeria forced to review its budget fundamentals and benchmarks for the 2020 fiscal year.