Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, says he plans to meet top members of the Organisation Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) – Qatari and Saudi – to find a solution to the current slump in prices of crude.
Kachikwu told Reuters that there was no definite decision on production reduction reached yet but that OPEC members would soon see the need to unite on a plan of action.
Oil producers have made repeated calls for an emergency OPEC meeting, but Kachikwu initially said that the timing had not been right as the cartel’s next regular meeting is in June.
He had said:
“We haven’t been sure that if we held those (emergency) meetings that we could actually walk away with some consensus.
“A lot of barrels are tumbling out of the market from non-OPEC members, so the Saudi philosophy is obviously working. But it’s not influencing the price higher, which means that whether we like it or not some barrels are coming in from members and non-members to cover whatever is dropping out.”
But in a new twist, he now affirmed to Reuters:
“Have we got to the point where we can say there is a definite strategy? In terms of production reduction or freezing, no, I don’t think we have got there. But there is a lot of energy.
“As you get closer to the statutory (OPEC) meeting dates, you are going to see a lot more people get active in those conversations and try to find solutions.
“There is increased conversation going on. I think when we met in December, they (OPEC members) were hardly talking to one another. Everyone was protecting their own positional logic.
“Now I think you have cross-logic; they are looking at what are the deficiencies, what is the optimum.”
The prices of crude in the international market have slumped by more than 70 percent to near $30 a barrel over the past 18 months as OPEC, led by top producer Saudi Arabia, sought to drive higher-cost producers out of the market by refusing to cut production despite a supply glut.