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Equatorial Guinea May Become Next New OPEC Member

Equatorial Guinea has applied to join OPEC as its 14th member during a visit by Mines and Hydrocarbons Minister Gabriel Mbaga Obiang to the compliance monitor meeting in Vienna this weekend.

Obiang didn’t give any further details about the West African nation’s bid for OPEC membership.

As Africa’s third-largest oil producer and one of the non-OPEC-member producers that has agreed to cut output in the first half of 2017, Equatorial Guinea would become the sixth member of OPEC from Africa. The country’s membership in OPEC would help to boost the continent's influence on the global oil and gas scene.

"We firmly believe that Equatorial Guinea's interests are fully aligned with those of OPEC in serving the best interests of the industry," stated Obiang.

According to data cited by news agencies, Equatorial Guinea’s production stands at 240,000 barrels per day, which it has pledged to reduce by 12,000 barrels per day under the OPEC and non-OPEC output cut agreement.

As a sign of a strong recovery in U.S. oil drilling activity, oil prices fell one percent on Monday, despite news that OPEC and non-OPEC producers would indeed meet their output reduction targets.

At the Vienna meeting on Sunday, ministers representing members of OPEC and non-OPEC producers said that of the almost 1.8 million barrels per day they had agreed to take out of the market, 1.5 million barrels per day were already offline.

"There is a consensus amongst producers that an oversupply of oil has been dragging down the price of the barrel. Equatorial Guinea is doing its part to ensure stability in the market and that the industry continues to invest in exploring and developing our resources," Obiang said.

By Damir Kaletovic for Oilprice.com

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