President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged that Nigeria will comply with the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreement to reduce oil production output in order to attract higher global oil prices.
A statement by the president’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, said Buhari gave the assurance on Wednesday at an audience with Mr Ahmad Qattan, Minister of State for African Affairs and Special Envoy of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and King of Saudi Arabia, at the State House, Abuja.
The global oil production cuts deal began in 2017 with OPEC and 10 non-OPEC countries aiming to remove up to 1.8million barrels per day in supplies to tackle oversupply and increase prices.
Nigeria and Libya were initially exempted from the cuts due to internal political and financial crisis but OPEC has now started to pressurise more members to join the cut in order to avoid over-supply in 2019.
It is however not unexpected that the delegation from Saudi Arabia, which has so far effected the largest output cut was in Nigeria to sustain the pressure.
The Special Envoy, while expressing his country’s best wishes to Nigeria as it goes into general elections, explained that King Salman sent him to Nigeria to make a request to President Buhari to ensure compliance with production cut quotas assigned in January.
He said Saudi had reduced its own output by 1.4 million barrels per day to ensure that prices went up, stressing however, that Saudi Arabia alone cannot bring stability to the oil market and shore up prices.
Bloomberg estimates show that Just 10 out of 21 nations expected to reduce output fully complied with the agreement last month.
Nigeria was assigned oil production cut of 53,000 barrels per day for January but it ended up producing 54,000 more barrels per day.
The Special Envoy called for greater adherence to production cuts by Nigeria and hoped that he would take a positive message back home.
Responding, President Buhari stated that output cuts had always been difficult for Nigeria considering the country’s peculiar circumstances of large population, huge expanse of land and state of under-development, adding, “I wish we can produce more.”
He, however, said: “I have listened carefully to the message. I will speak with the Minister of State Petroleum. I will call for the latest production figures. I know that it is in our interest to listen. We will cooperate.”
President Buhari explained that higher oil prices will make both nations stronger and their citizens more prosperous.
He commended King Salman for his leadership in global oil matters, assuring that Nigeria will continue to accord respect to the Kingdom in that regard.