Nigeria to put off deciding whether to join OPEC cuts, minister says

Nigerian Oil Minister Emmanuel Ebe Kachiko.

:: Nigeria supports OPEC’s efforts to stabilize oil prices, but it wants to wait before deciding whether join the alliance’s cuts in oil production, its oil minister said on Wednesday.

“Hopefully, in the next two to three months we can see how predictable the production return has been and then can say we feel stabilized and need to make the corresponding cuts,” Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu told reporters.

Nigeria and Libya, whose output has been hit by political turmoil and attacks, are exempt from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreement, which is an effort to reduce a glut of crude oil on world markets.

Nigeria’s benchmark level to join the OPEC cuts is production of 1.8 million barrels of crude a day. Its current output is around 1.7 million barrels a day, excluding condensates, Kachikwu said.

Nigeria’s output had improved in recent months, after the government managed to end militant attacks on oil pipelines in the Niger Delta by opening peace talks with leaders in the restive oil hub.

Kachikwu also said he would not attend a meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC nations on July 24 in Russia, because he would be hosting a meeting of African oil producers in Abuja on the same day.

“We [OPEC] are fairly in consensus on our position on cuts,” he said, adding that OPEC hoped oil prices would stabilize later this month.

Under the supply deal, OPEC is curbing output by about 1.2 million barrels a day. Russia and other non-OPEC producers are cutting half as much, until March 2018.

OPEC said on Wednesday its oil production jumped in June and forecast world demand for its crude would decline next year as rivals pump more, pointing to a market surplus in 2018 despite the OPEC-led output cut.

Giving its first forecasts for 2018 in a monthly report, OPEC said the world will need 32.20 million barrels per day of crude from its members next year, a fall of 60,000 barrels a day from this year.

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