by Alex Lawler
VIENNA, Sept 22 – Nigeria is pumping less than 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude, its oil minister said on Friday, meaning the country is sticking to an output cap agreed under an OPEC-led deal to limit output.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers, including Russia, are reducing crude output until next March in an attempt to support prices by cutting a glut of crude on world markets.
Nigeria was at first exempted from the deal because its output was limited by unrest in the oil-producing Delta region. But, with production recovering, OPEC ministers agreed in July Nigeria would cap output at 1.8 million bpd.
“The average is about 1.69 million bpd and it is getting better by the day,” Nigerian oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu told reporters in Vienna, where he attended a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC ministers to review the deal.
Asked when Nigeria was willing to join the supply limiting deal, the minister said the country already had, in effect.
“We’ve actually joined,” he said. “The reality is the cap we agreed on is 1.8 million bpd and as long as we are producing below that, we are already in it.”
He said no oil export streams in Nigeria remained under force majeure but infrastructure problems were preventing production exceeding 1.8 million bpd.
“At lot of it is infrastructure,” he said. “A lot of damage happened during the years of militancy.” (Reporting by Alex Lawler; Editing by Mark Potter)(Reuters)