Tension returns in Nigeria’s oil sector as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member-countries re-gather on Thursday, 25 May 2017, at its headquarters in Vienna, to among other things, review the exemption granted the country from the current output cut regime.
Already some policy makers are getting worried that the country may be asked to cut some quantity of its oil, but may not be in line with the percentage reduction on other more stable member-countries.
Though Minister of State Petroluem, Ibe Kachikwu, has remained upbeat that the oil cartel would extend its goodwill to Nigeria, nothing is on the ground to justify this, apart from the fact that the OPEC Secretary General, Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, at his recent official visit in Nigeria made some positive remarks towards that.
“I am optimistic that the member- countries would be guided by the fact on the ground while reviewing the prevailing conditions that warranted Nigeria being considered for exemption,” he was quoted as having told CMBC cable network.
But there have not been enough evidence of Nigeria lobbying other countries to gain sympathy with them before the coming meeting, said an observer.
Officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said such high level discussions are not thrown open for public consumption.
“It is wrong to conclude that Nigeria is taking things for granted, if there were meetings they should not be held in an open field,” an aide to the Group Managing Director, stated when confronted on the matter.
However, since the begining of April 2017, high government delegations from other countrues have been visiting the OPEC Secretariat, a move believed to be connected with influencing the agenda of the coming meeting.
At the last count, Angola, the newest member of OPEC, sent its Ambassador to Austria to pay an official visit, also in the sane vein were Iraq, Venezuela and Qatar.
But the hope of Nigeria surviving, even without renewing the exemption gesture is the fact that most of its shut oil terminals are gradually resuming operations.
For example, a second vessel, the Densa Orca, arrived on Monday at the Forcados terminal after the Astro Perseus tanker loaded the first cargo in seven months since October 2016.
As a result, exports of the grade are said to be gearing towards returning to their usual 200,000-240,000 barrels per day (bpd) by June 2017, at most, all things being equal.
It would be recalled that attacks by militants throughout 2016 in the Niger Delta oil rich region denied Nigeria about 45 per cent of its production output.
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