OPEC: Nigeria yet to decide on oil production cut

Nigeria and Russia have said it is too early to signal whether they would join any production curbs.

The Energy Minister, Saudi Arabia, Khalid al-Falih said on Wednesday that the country would not cut oil output on its own to stabilise the market, according to Reuters.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, led by Russia, will meet in Vienna next week against the backdrop of concerns over a slowing global economy and rising oil supplies from the United States, which is not involved in an existing agreement to restrain output.

The negative economic outlook helped to push oil below $60 a barrel this week from as high as $85 in October, prompting Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC, to suggest significant production cuts.

Riyadh, however, has come under renewed pressure from US President Donald Trump, who asked the kingdom to refrain from output reductions and help to lower oil prices further.

Possibly complicating any decision on oil output is the crisis around the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month.

Trump has backed the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, despite calls from many US politicians to impose stiff sanctions on Riyadh.

Falih was in Abuja to meet Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu. The Saudi minister said signals from fellow OPEC members Iraq, Nigeria and Libya were positive ahead of the group’s December 6 talks because all ministers want to restore oil market stability.

“We are going to … do whatever is necessary, but only if we act together as a group of 25,” Falih told reporters, referring to OPEC and its allies. “As Saudi Arabia we cannot do it alone; we will not do it alone.

“Everybody is longing (to) reach a decision that brings stability back to the market … I think people know that leaving the market to its own devices with no clarity and no collective decision to balance the market is not helping.”

Brent oil edged down towards $60 on Wednesday, erasing early gains of more than one per cent, with the market unconvinced on the propect of OPEC cuts next week.

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, will meet Mohammed in Argentina at this weekend’s G20 summit, which Trump will also attend.

Moscow has so far resisted joining any new production cuts and Falih did not say whether he had heard of any change in Russia’s position.

Speaking in Moscow, Putin said Russia was in touch with OPEC but Moscow would be satisfied with oil at $60 a barrel. Putin previously said Russia would be satisfied with a price of $70.

“We are in contact with OPEC and we are ready to continue our joint efforts if needed,” Putin said.

Russian energy minister Alexander Novak met Russian oil producers this week to discuss cooperation with OPEC, two industry sources said without providing details.

Kachikwu told reporters it was too early to say whether Nigeria would participate in any cuts but added that there was “absolute resolve” within the organisation to stabilise the market.
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