Nigeria ready to play OPEC ball, Russia says

Nigerian crude oil production in August was the highest it's been in two years.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Sept. 22, 2017 at 8:48 AM
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Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Nigeria may be ready to give up its status as an OPEC member exempt from the effort to balance the market with production cuts, Russia's oil minister said.

Members of a committee monitoring an agreement to cut the equivalent of about 2 percent of world's oil demand out of the market met Friday in Vienna to discuss the impact. The measure is aimed at draining global stockpiles closer to a five-year average.

Most OPEC members are in full compliance with the agreement, though exemptions for OPEC members Libya and Nigeria have complicated the effort. Both countries were sidelined from the effort so they could steer oil revenue toward national security efforts.

Speaking from Vienna, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak hinted that Nigeria could give up its exempt status once its production stabilizes.

"Nigeria is ready to reduce production at the level of 1.8 million barrels per day and join the agreement once it reaches the target," he was quoted by Russian news agency Tass as saying.

Russia is a party to the multilateral effort and is the largest contributor among non-OPEC member states.

Secondary sources reporting to OPEC economists said Nigeria production in August was 1.86 million barrels per day, its highest level of the year. First quarter production for Nigeria averaged 1.5 million barrels per day and Nigeria last topped 1.8 million barrels per day in 2015.

OPEC economists said the Nigerian economy is gaining momentum. Its economy during the second quarter grew 0.6 percent from last year, after registering a contraction in the first quarter.

On the national security front, Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari told the U.N. General Assembly this week that security was still an issue. In addressing the body, he called for a collective effort to prevent groups like the Islamic State for gaining a regional foothold. Regional resources, he said, are insufficient and the "response capacity is weak."

Total OPEC production, based on August figures from secondary sources, is about 0.3 percent higher than the average for 2016 and 3 percent higher in 2015

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