Chief Timipre Sylva, the minister of state for petroleum resources, announced Wednesday that Nigeria’s OPEC oil output limit has increased to 1.554 million barrels per day, excluding condensate oil.
During a press conference in Abuja to commemorate Nigeria’s 50 years as a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries-OPEC, Sylva told journalists that the group’s 50-year partnership has benefited both parties greatly and that the international oil market would have been in turmoil without it.
“The decision by Nigeria to join OPEC has enhanced the development of the oil industry in the country, enabled the country to influence the growth and contribute to the survival of the industry globally, and placed Nigeria among the comity of nations engaged in the noble duty of stabilizing the oil market for the benefit of all – producers, consumers, and OPEC members,” he said.
The relationship between Nigeria and OPEC, without doubt, has been of mutual benefits to both parties.
On the one hand, it has supported the growth of the oil industry in Nigeria through the harmonization and adoption of relevant policies among OPEC member countries, as well as through the sharing of knowledge and technical expertise. Nigeria has also benefited greatly from the efforts of OPEC to stabilise the oil market taking into consideration that the economy of the country is highly dependent on revenue from oil.
On the other hand, Nigeria has also contributed enormously to the survival of the OPEC through turbulent times, by lending full support to the efforts of the Organization to balance and stabilize the oil market.”
According to him, Nigeria has produced six Presidents of the OPEC Conference and four OPEC Secretary Generals in the last 50 years, including the current Secretary-General, Muhammad Barkindo.
Chief Sylva said the inability of OPEC and its allies, including Russia, to agree on future oil production levels last week was not a symptom of the alliance’s fraying, and that a solution will be found very soon.
The last meeting was deadlocked in a way but that really doesn’t indicate that there is a crack in the OPEC family. In a family, it is not the majority that wins. OPEC is a consensus organization. So everybody in the family must agree before we can move forward.
So if 99 per cent of the people are on one side and one per cent is on one side OPEC will not still agree and that is really what happened to us in the last meeting. Everybody else has agreed but one country disagreed. They have reasons why they disagreed and we are trying to resolve the issue with them”, he added.
The Minister added that removing the petrol subsidy is still the greatest option for the country since it will free up monies to fund development projects.
He revealed that the government was still in talks with labour unions and other stakeholders, but that the program would come to an end the day President Muhammadu Buhari signs the Petroleum Industry Bill into law.
“Subsidy removal when the President assents to the PIB will become a matter of law because it is already in the PIB that petroleum products will be sold at market-determined prices”.