Oil chief praises Nigerians for surviving storm

By Toye Faleye

The Secretary-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC),  Mr Mohammed Barkindo, has praised Nigerians for surviving the storm brought by low prices of crude oil.

Barkindo was elated that worst days are over as hard times brought on account of low prices of crude oil are set to end soon. The good news was disclosed when Barkindo paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday.

He said the cheering news was consequent upon the agreement reached by OPEC at Algiers to cut output, making the crude oil prices to climb more than 6% as cartel ministers reached a consensus on production curb.

Barkindo expressed that confidence was returning to the Nigerian petroleum industry due largely to the major macro-economic decisions taken by OPEC and non-OPEC member countries last year.

“We have gone through the worst energy cycle in recent memory. Some of us, who have been around for quite a while have witnessed all these five cycles and it is a consensus in terms of the gravity of these cycles, prices have crashed by over 80% from the fall of 2014 to January 2016,” he said.

He commended the government over how it survived the turbulence, saying it was a miracle. “I have visited all other countries and I have seen how they are struggling. But you have weathered the storm. I think the worst is behind us, thanks to your leadership in the run up to the historic agreement of last year… beginning with Algiers Accord on September 20,” said he.

It will be recalled that some of the world’s biggest oil producers had agreed to cut production for the first time in eight years at a meeting in Algiers, sending crude prices higher by more than 6 per cent and sparking big gains for energy stocks.

After more than four hours talks in Algeria during that meeting, OPEC committed itself to reducing output to between 32.5m barrels a day and 33m b/d, according to OPEC ministers.

The agreement surprised oil traders who thought a consensus would be difficult to reach because of the divisions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, two of OPEC’s largest and most influential members.

The cut in prices of crude oil has resulted in Nigeria witnessing dwindling oil revenue which slowed down the take off of capital projects. It has also had to battle pipeline vandalism, which has impacted negatively on its economy, in the oil-rich Niger-Delta.

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