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Nigeria pushes for higher OPEC quota

By on March 21, 2011

THE Federal Government has concluded plans to place a fresh application, seeking review of the country’s oil export quota from Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The move was sequel to the relative peace experienced in the Niger Delta region, which has buoyed oil production in the hydrocarbon rich zone. This has however, been constrained by the quotas.

The Presidential Adviser on Energy Matters, Emmanuel Egbogah, who stated this recently, expressed optimism the cartel would be willing to accept the review.

Egbogah said Nigeria is ready to increase its oil production but is being held back by the OPEC quota, noting that it had been maintaining steady oil output of around 2.6 million barrels per day for the last year.

“Our installed oil capacity is 3.733 million barrels per day (bpd). We will definitely apply to review our quotas,” Egbogah told Reuters in Abuja.

Nigeria’s OPEC quota is presently marked at 1.8 million bpd. Meanwhile, the country’s crude oil output dropped 3.8 per cent in February at 2.098 million bpd, though it remained Africa’s top oil producer, outperforming Angola (1.704m bpd), Libya (1.347m bpd), and Algeria (1.261m bpd).

OPEC, in its March Monthly Oil Market Report, estimated the nation’s crude oil output at 2.098m barrels per day (bpd) in February, from 2.181m bpd in January, and 2.192m bpd in December.

The cartel is presently considering an emergency meeting ahead of the June meeting to consider increasing oil production, amid increasing oil prices arising from the crises in the North Africa and the Japan disaster.

Kuwait’s Oil Minister, Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, who disclosed this move last week said: “I’ve talked to Abdalla El-Badri (OPEC Secretary General) in this regard, and he is calling everybody and making a consensus on whether we’ll need an OPEC meeting, an urgent meeting,”

“We have to find out at the meeting whether there is a need for an increase or not’” he added.

Reacting to the development, the former Minister of Petroleum and incumbent Minister of Foreign Affairs, Henry Odein Ajumogobia said: “I do suspect members of OPEC would be getting together to assess the situation of demand and supply,” adding that the Japan disaster is also likely to affect the oil market and prices.

“OPEC is currently maintaining its ceiling,” Ajumogobia said, while noting that “current events in North Africa will probably inform the decision as to where those ceilings will be increased.”

He said: “If OPEC ceilings are increased, then our production will increase by the same token… our OPEC oil output quota is 1.8 million bpd and the rest is condensate.”

Source : Guardian