Relief as OPEC Extends Nigeria’s Exemption from Oil Production Cut

  • FG to track Nigeria’s stolen crude oil with fingerprint technology

By Ejiofor Alike and Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa 

The meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) of OPEC and Non-OPEC Countries in Vienna, Austria, yesterday extended its exemption from crude oil production cut, thus endorsing the country’s position hat the exemption granted it at the November 2016 Ministerial Conference and extended by the May Ministerial Conference should be sustained until it stabilises its crude oil production.

It also emerged yesterday that the federal government is planning to halt the stealing of Nigeria’s crude oil by introducing a fingerprint technology which will track products anywhere in the world. 

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, who led Nigeria’s delegation to the JMMC meeting had argued that although Nigeria’s production recovery efforts have made some appreciable progress since October last year, Nigeria is not yet out of the woods.

He noted that even though Nigeria hit 1.802 million barrels per day in August; that was not enough justification for a call by some countries for Nigeria to be brought into the fold.

Kachikwu emphasised that Nigeria, as one of the older members of OPEC would continue to work for the good of the Organization and its member countries, respecting whatever agreements and resolutions are collectively made.

He stated that Nigeria would be prepared to cap its crude production when it had stabilized at 1.8 million barrels per day.

He said that although Nigeria was not a member of the five-nation JMMC, he had gladly accepted the invitation of the co-chairs of the Committee and the OPEC Conference President to attend the meeting because he believed that the committee was doing a good job and needed to be supported and also to clarify Nigeria’s position on its crude oil production.

The meeting noted that overall compliance by OPEC and Non OPEC participating Countries to the Agreement on crude oil production cut for the month of August was 116 per cent.

This compliance level was highest since the agreement came into effect on January 2017.

It further noted that the objectives of the Accord were steadily being achieved with the gradual draw-down of inventories by nearly 50 per cent since the agreement came into effect

In a communiqué after its 5th meeting, which took place yesterday, the JMMC welcomed the participation of Iraq, Libya and Nigeria, and the reaffirmation of their commitment to work closely with other participating producing countries to ensure the success of the Declaration of Cooperation.

The President of the OPEC Conference and Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Khalid A. Al-Falih, participated in the meeting by telephone, expressed his solidarity with the JMMC, reiterated the commitment of Saudi Arabia to the success of the Declaration of Cooperation and cautioned against complacency.

He also reaffirmed the necessity of additional work to be undertaken by under-performing participating countries to bring their conformity levels to 100 per cent. 

He then thanked Libya and Nigeria for their positive engagement and their ongoing coordination with the participating countries in the Declaration of Cooperation.

The next JMMC Meeting is scheduled to be held in Vienna, on November 29, 2017.

 FG to Track Nigeria’s Stolen Crude Oil with Fingerprint Technology 

To halt the stealing of Nigeria’s crude oil by locals who connive with operators of foreign vessels, the federal government said yesterday that it was introducing a fingerprint technology which will track products anywhere in the world. 

Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who spoke in Odi, Bayelsa State, yesterday, also disclosed that the Buhari government was set to build an oil and gas institute in the state due to the immense contribution of Bayelsa in the sector. 

Onu, who was also in Odi to inaugurate a Bio-resources Laboratory and the livestock feed mill complexes at the Bio-resources Development Centre (BIODEC), disclosed that the programme which would take off before the end of the year, will solve the problem of economic sabotage. 

“Nigeria is changing with this capacity here now, we will able to do many things. I just gave them instruction that by the end of the year, we should have finger printing of our crude oil, so that if anybody steals it we will be able to identify it. 

“Even crude oil can have finger prints and with the equipment we have here, we can do it in Nigeria. One problem that we have is that we rely on other people to solve our problems. We produce crude oil, we export it, but we now import refined petroleum products. 

“We export our woods and we bring in toothpicks. We don’t want that anymore and for you to do all these things we rely on others. We have to look inward and we need to build capacity and that is what this facility is doing for us. 

“We can do genome mapping of our rare crops, plants, animals that are unique to us. We can even finger print our own crude oil. 

 “We also need to fight poverty. If you create jobs, you will fight poverty, if you train people, you fight poverty and that’s what they are doing here and I think we are ready to fight poverty.” 

The minister had earlier visited the state governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, where he intimated him of the need to develop capacity in the oil and gas processes in the country. 

In his comments, Dickson who was represented by his Deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah, said the state would create an enabling environment to make the project a success in the state. 

He noted that the Institute when established would create jobs, encourage skills and reduce spate of unemployment in the region. 

Also speaking, the Director General of the Institute, Josiah Habu, said the target of the research centre was to bring “reliability, quality, originality, innovation and novelty to research and development”. 

He said the commissioning of the facilities had officially open the gateway to a higher level of bio-resources prospecting and processing to new products and services to support local content. 

“For a start, the quest for the DNA of Nigeria’s crude oil will soon be answered. This is to enable the tracking of Nigeria’s crude oil flow globally and hence solve the national problem of economic sabotage”, he said.