The federal government yesterday pledged its renewed commitment to full compliance with the country’s crude oil production quota, which it pegged at 1.554 million barrels per day in June.
Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, said during a briefing in Abuja to mark the country’s 50th anniversary as a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), that rationing production was the right thing to do at the moment.
The minister stated that apportioning quotas did not hurt the country’s production, adding that if not because of the cartel’s intervention, the price of crude oil would still fall below.
Sylva said the 1.554 million barrels per day which was allocated to Nigeria for June, excluded condensates, stressing that as of today Nigeria has fully complied without exceeding the total allocated to the country since the OPEC member countries agreed to cut production.
According to him, although there has been a stalemate in the OPEC discussions which has now been postponed indefinitely, there is no crack in the carte.
He stated that it is the way things work in OPEC wherein every member has to agree on every issue before it can be resolved.
He said: “Our OPEC quota is around 1.554 million bpd for crude oil, excluding condensates. We are complying with the OPEC cuts and it really doesn’t hurt us because the danger is that with non-compliance, prices can go the other way round and everything you are producing will fetch you less money.
“It’s the right thing to do and whenever OPEC gives us our quota, we do everything to achieve it. Right now, we are completely compliant with the total that has been allocated to us as Nigeria.”
Chronicling Nigeria’s participation in OPEC in the last 50 years, Sylva stated that the relationship between Nigeria and the oil producers’ group has been of mutual benefits to both parties.
On the one hand, he said OPEC had supported the growth of the oil industry in Nigeria through the harmonisation and adoption of policies among its member countries, as well as through the sharing of knowledge and technical expertise.
Nigeria has also contributed enormously to the survival of the OPEC through turbulent times, by supporting the efforts of the organisation to balance and stabilise the oil market.
Over the past 50 years, he stated that Nigeria has produced six presidents of the OPEC Conference, including Shettima Ali Monguno (1972/73), Mallam Yahaya Dikko (1982/83), Dr. Rilwanu Lukman (1986/1989 & 2002), Prof. Jibril Aminu (1991), Dr. Edmund Daukoru (2006) and Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu (2015).
According to him, Nigerians have in total, presided over 26 OPEC ministerial conferences held in many countries, including President Muhammadu Buhari, who also served as head of Nigeria’s delegation to OPEC from 1976-1978.
Sylva added that Nigeria has also produced four OPEC Secretaries-General, including Chief M.O. Feyide, Lukman, Daukoru and the incumbent, Dr. Sanusi Barkindo.
“This amounts to a total of 15 years of managing the affairs of the OPEC secretariat on behalf of all its members. Nigeria has therefore played a vital role in the evolution of the secretariat and the development of the organisation,” he said.
As a member of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) , Sylva stated that Nigeria served as special envoy to some African participating countries earlier this year in order to bolster commitment to the agreements.
The minister added that oil will continue to be an important component of the energy mix into the foreseeable future and will continue to power the global economic growth in order to eradicate poverty, which is still prevalent worldwide.
The occasion also marked the launch of the book, “Nigeria and OPEC: 50 years of partnership, 1971-2021”, which is an updated version of the one published in 2006 to mark the 35 anniversary.
Earlier, Barkindo, in a statement, had said that over the course of the five decades, the unique relationship between OPEC and Nigeria had positive effects for both parties.
He said both OPEC and Nigeria had repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to the universal values of international cooperation, dialogue, sustainable development and working towards the common good.
He lauded Buhari, whom he said is the only serving head of state who worked as a head of OPEC delegation earlier in his career from May 1976 to September 1978.
Barkindo added that Nigeria has consistently regarded as one of the most admired and respected members of the OPEC, particularly in consensus-building.