By Felix Onuah
ABUJA, Sept 13 – Nigeria is very unlikely to join OPEC’s cuts in oil production before March, its oil minister said on Wednesday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers, including Russia, are reducing crude output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until next March in an attempt to support prices by cutting a glut of crude oil on world markets.
Nigeria and Libya, whose output has been affected by political turmoil and attacks, are exempt from the agreement.
“It is very unlikely that I see stability that convinces me with certainty that I should exit the exemption between now and March,” Nigerian oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu told reporters in Abuja.
He also said an extension to the cartel’s cuts was possible since volumes of oil stocks were still a challenge.
“I will not be surprised if an extension to the cuts is contemplated post-March, given the sort of volumes I‘m still seeing, because as long as the volumes are still a challenge we will continue to do everything that we need to do to tighten up the market.”
Kachikwu said earlier on Wednesday that Nigeria’s oil production currently stood at 1.6 million bpd, excluding condensates. (Additional reporting by Libby George, in London; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Susan Fenton)