OPEC freeze not likely, but Nigerian oil minister says ‘honesty’ is real progress

A freeze in production by OPEC members would not include Nigeria, according to the country’s oil minister, who said the real progress at the oil cartel’s meeting in Algeria had been honesty.

Nigeria has seen crude oil production disruptions this year concentrated in its Niger Delta region and Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said that it lost an average of 500 to 700 barrels per day in output. He said that OPEC members would understand that Nigeria had to be exempt from any production cut or freeze that the group decides upon.

“We are struggling to find the resources to keep our development going,” Kachikwu told CNBC on the outskirts of the International Energy Forum in Algiers.

A deal looked unlikely on Tuesday afternoon at the informal meeting of OPEC members and other influential non-OPEC producers such as Russia. The Iranian oil minister said on Tuesday that this week was not the time for OPEC decision making, according to Reuters. Oil prices fell on Tuesday morning and extended losses during the session.

Dow Jones reported at 1.00 p.m. London time that officials planned to discuss a possible output cut of almost 1 million barrels a day, although the report did little to support prices.

Instead, Kachikwu told CNBC that honesty was the real progress at this informal meeting.

“Honesty about what the real factual situations are, specific actionable points at the end of it all on what needs to happen, willingness of all the blocks to come together and find a joint solution not to leave it to one block to carry the can,” he said. “That’s real progress.”

Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria's petroleum and resources minister

Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s petroleum and resources minister
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