Chineme Okafor and Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
Nigeria would make the necessary sacrifices needed to stabilise the global crude oil market which has been impacted greatly by COVID-19, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resource, Mr. Timipre Sylva, said yesterday.
This was coming as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday revealed that the payment of fuel subsidy or under-recovery by the federal government was now a thing of the past, explaining that henceforth, market forces would determine the pump price of petrol.
Crude oil prices fell yesterday after Saudi Arabia and Russia delayed a meeting to discuss output cuts that could help alleviate global oversupply as the coronavirus pandemic pummels demand.
Brent crude slipped close to $30 per barrel earlier but pared losses to trade down 24 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $33.87 per barrel.
West Texas Intermediate crude fell 41 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $27.93 a barrel, off a session low of $25.28.
Sylva, in statement issued by his Adviser on Media, Mallam Garubadeen Mohammed, explained that the country would join other member-countries of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at a meeting on April 9 to discuss the state of the oil market.
He noted that at the meeting, the country intends to maintain its devotion to ‘team spirit’ in helping the market to overcome the challenges of COVID-19.
Additionally, Sylva said the country would consider the stability of its national economy in its interactions with OPEC member-countries.
As at Friday last week, OPEC’s reference basket price for oil was $23.01 per barrel; Nigeria’s 2020 budget which was passed in December 2019 had crude oil production benchmarked at 2.18 million barrels a day (mbd) and price at $57 per barrel.
In the statement, Sylva said the government was watching developments in the oil and gas industry with keen interest.
“Specifically, Nigeria is very mindful and appreciative of the role of Saudi Arabia and other members of the OPEC family. As Minister of State for Petroleum, I will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our economy and global market,” he said.
According to him, “In our consultations with global industry stakeholders in the lead up to the OPEC+ meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 9, the Nigerian government will take a position that is in the best interest of our short term and long-term economic forecast.
“It is well known that Nigeria has always collaborated with key OPEC members such as Saudi Arabia in maintaining a balanced position that has helped to make OPEC one of the most successful global institutions in recent history. Nigeria intends to maintain this team spirit even as it takes into account the position of OPEC strategic allies such as Russia.”
“As always the driving force of our OPEC policy is first the stability of our national economy as well as the stability of the global economy which is heavily dependent on OPEC and its strategic partners, popularly referred to as OPEC+.
“Nigeria, like the rest of the world has been hit by the global pandemic and is prepared to join the rest of the world in making the necessary sacrifices needed to stabilise the crude oil market; and to prevent what is likely to be a major global economic meltdown.”