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Nigeria Defies Calls To Curb Crude Oil Output

Although it faces mounting pressure to join OPEC’s production cuts, exempt producer Nigeria will resist any attempt to cut its oil output because it needs time at least until March next year to make sure its production gains are sustainable, Oil Minister Emmanuel Kachikwu told the Financial Times in an interview published on Tuesday.

“We have a nine-month exemption period within which to come back to the table,” Kachikwu told FT. “You need that timeframe to see if any recovery is sustainable,” the minister added, putting further pressure on fellow OPEC members in trying to persuade Nigeria to join the cuts. 

“They should let us exhaust those nine months and see whether we have been able to establish stability,” Kachikwu told FT, commenting on his country’s plans regarding joining the cuts.

The Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC)—the panel tasked to supervise compliance with the cuts—is meeting in Vienna on September 22 and has expressed intention to invite Nigeria and Libya to assess their production plans.

While Libya has recently faced renewed production disruptions that cost it some output, Nigeria’s crude oil output jumped by 138,300 bpd in August compared to July, and stood at 1.861 million bpd last month, according to OPEC’s secondary sources in the Monthly Oil Market Report published today.

Two months ago, Kachikwu was quoted as saying that Nigeria was ready to support OPEC’s cuts and limit its crude oil output when it reaches a stable 1.8 million bpd.

Now the minister told the FT that his country needed more “recovery time” to see if that level of production is sustained.

This Nigerian position would likely add further headache to OPEC that has been struggling to reduce the global oil glut and lift oil prices, facing increased supply from the U.S. and from the two exempt African producers.

Related: Russia’s Comeback In The LNG Race

While Kachikwu explained Nigeria’s view on the cuts, he noted that “The earlier all of us get used to the fact [shale] is going to be there for a long time, the better.”

The Nigerian minister also commented that OPEC’s big target to have oil at US$60 per barrel “is looking very, very tough right now if you look at the sort of numbers coming out from US shale.”

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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