•Fed Govt seeks exemption till March next year
In another 10 days, Nigeria’s exemption from production quota will be reviewed by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria. The Federal Government plans to plead with the cartel to grant it a seven-month grace to stabilise its oil production.
NIGERIA will resist any attempt to curb its oil production, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has said.
The minister spoke ahead of the countries meeting with the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia before the end of the month.
Nigeria and Libya, two members of the oil cartel enjoying exemption from oil production cut deal have been invited to an OPEC Committee meeting scheduled for September 22 in Vienna, Austria.
But 10 days ahead of the meeting where the latest developments in the oil sectors of both countries would be reviewed, Kachikwu gave reasons Nigeria must not be told to cap its oil production quota.
Kuwait’s Oil Governor Haitham al-Ghais told Al-Rai newspaper penultimate week that the oil cartel will be consulting with Nigeria and Libya to review the latest development in their oil sectors.
He said the group will hold a technical committee meeting on September 20, looking at the continued effects of the United States (U.S.) shale oil on the global market and the impact of Hurricane Harvey.
Ghais said: “The amount of production affected by the hurricane is estimated at 700,000bpd, which may strengthen the status of the market.”
He added that U.S. production had increased by 500,000bpd so far this year, compared to last year’s.
It was learnt that the September 20 meeting will be followed by another meeting on September 22, where a committee overseeing the deal, composed of oil ministers from Kuwait, Russia, Venezuela, Algeria, Oman and Saudi Arabia, would be in attendance.
The Nigerian position may pose a threat to the cartel’s effort to cut global supplies and boost crude prices towards $60 a barrel. The price prices hovered around $54.42 yesterday.
Kachikwu told the Financial Times that Nigeria’s energy sector was still suffering from years of violent disruptions and needed more “recovery time” before joining a supply deal agreed last year between some of the world’s biggest oil producers.
The minister, who was at OPEC meetings, said in an interview, that Nigeria would not consider sealing its production until at least March next year.
According to him, there has been no proof that the country’s rebound in production would last.
“We have a nine-month exemption period within which to come back to the table,” Kachikwu said, referring to the decision to extend the near two million barrel a day supply cut deal from June.
“You need that timeframe to see if any recovery is sustainable,” the minister explained.
His stance puts Nigeria on a potential collision course with other OPEC members as the country’s output has rebounded strongly in the past 12 months, blunting the effectiveness of a deal between 24 countries to shave almost two per cent of global oil output.
Nigeria and Libya were exempted from the cuts due to disruptions of oil production by militants in the Niger Delta. The agitations of the restive militants and the internal crisis in Libya, led to serious drop in oil output in both countries.
However, productions have improved following negotiations with leaders from the region. The Pan Niger Delta Development Foundation (PANDEF) has been negotiating with the Federal Government as part of efforts to restore peace to the oil producing region.
Nigeria’s production rose by 50,000 barrels a day in June, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Abdulsamad Al-Awadhi, a London-based analyst and Kuwait’s former representative to OPEC, said capping Libya and Nigeria might help but would not cut the supply by much.
Al-Awadhi said: “OPEC needs to have better compliance, and it must respect the right of Libya and Nigeria to go back to the market.
“Other countries that raised output while Libya and Nigeria are out should do more and give space to these two countries to go back to the market.”
The decision to grant Libya and Nigeria exemptions to production cuts was a collective decision, and any proposal to include them in OPEC’s plans will also require a joint decision, Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo told reporters at an event in Istanbul.
OPEC and non-OPEC members agreed to cut oil production at its meeting in Austria on November 30 last year. The decision followed an agreement by OPEC members at a meeting in Algiers, Algeria on September 28 to limit supply with special conditions given to Libya, Nigeria and Iran, whose output has been hit by wars and sanctions.
The agreement was tagged ‘Algiers Accord.’ The production cut agreement, which began January 1, compelled OPEC’s 14 members and 10 non-OPEC countries, led by Russia, to cut a combined 1.8 million bpd in output through March.
Militants rescind threat
A coalition of militants in the Niger Delta, who had previously vowed to attack oil and gas pipelines if their demands were not met by October 1, has agreed to rescind their threats on the fossil fuel infrastructure in the oil-bearing region.
The Presidency held talks with the coalition last week, after which the group declared its loyalty to the PANDEF, which is negotiating with the Federal Government to increase the proportion of oil revenues used to develop the oil-rich delta.
A statement by the group reads: “Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), the coalition of Niger Delta agitators, which comprises over 250 groups with their leaders and representatives present at yesterday’s (last week) meeting, officially withdraw our quit notice issued to the Northerners and Yorubas living in Niger Delta region; call off planned resumption of attacks on oil and gas installations across the Niger Delta region and beyond from September 10, 2017; suspend the October 1, 2017 declaration of the Niger Delta Republic; declare support for the Pan Niger Delta Forum.
“We have also resolved to work with PANDEF and give it our maximum support and we urge the federal government to continue a dialogue and implement the 16-point demand presented by PANDEF on behalf of the Niger Delta region.”
The news of the rescinded threat came as foreign companies start reinvesting in Nigeria after a year of high militant activity in 2016.
Shell has begun pumping natural gas from the second phase of development at the Gbaran-Ubie Niger Delta project at the end of last month. The gas from the expanded project will go to both the local market and export markets and will be transported via a new pipeline connecting the central processing facility at Gbaran-Ubie to a non-associated gas plant.
Oil prices rose yesterday after OPEC forecast higher demand in 2018 and said its output fell in August.
The cartel has agreed that its production-cutting deal with non-member countries could help reduce the global crude glut.
In its monthly report, the OPEC also said the two hurricanes that hit the U.S. in recent weeks would have a “negligible” impact on demand.
The market was assessing Hurricane Irma’s effect on demand, even as key refinery restarts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey boosted expectations for crude oil consumption.
Weekly U.S. inventories data will shed light on the hurricanes’ impact. Analysts forecast crude inventories last week rose while products drew down.
The American Petroleum Institute’s (API’s) data report was due last night and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports expected today.
This week’s numbers might be incomplete indicators of the longer-term supply and demand outlook, said Mark Watkins, regional investment manager at U.S. Bank.
“Over the next two to three weeks, the EIA inventory numbers will be rather sloppy because you have production disrupted, refineries going offline and online,” he said, adding that OPEC figures are a better signal. “That’s why you have to look out further.”
Brent crude LCOc1 rose 43 cents or 0.8 percent to $54.27 per barrel by 1:14 p.m. (1556 GMT). During the session it traded as low as $53.42.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) CLc1 was up 21 cents or 0.2 percent to $48.40 a barrel. It hit a session low of $47.73.
Output by OPEC’s 14 member countries fell in August by 79,000 barrels per day (bpd) from July to 32.76 million bpd.
Should OPEC keep pumping at August’s rate, the market would see a small supply deficit next year, versus a 450,000-bpd surplus implied by last month’s report.
OPEC said inventories were falling and an increased premium of Brent crude for immediate delivery over that for later supplies raised hopes that the market was rebalancing.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said it expects U.S. crude oil production in 2018 to rise by more than previously expected.
The agency forecast that 2018 crude oil output will rise 590,000 barrels per day to 9.84 million bpd. Last month, it expected a 560,000 bpd year-over-year increase to 9.91 million bpd.
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