President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday pledged the cooperation of Nigeria to the effort to reduce oil output in order to attract higher prices in the global market.
Speaking at an audience with Mr Ahmad Qattan, Minister of State for African Affairs and Special Envoy of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and King of Saudi Arabia, at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari said as a responsible member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, Nigeria was willing to go along with the Saudi initiative in limiting output so that prices would go up.
The President said output cuts had always been difficult for Nigeria considering the country’s peculiar circumstances of large population, huge expanse of land and state of under-development, adding, “I wish we can produce more.”
He, however, said: “I have listened carefully to the message. I will speak with the Minister of State Petroleum. I will call for the latest production figures. I know that it is in our interest to listen. We will cooperate.”
President Buhari explained that higher oil prices will make both nations stronger and their citizens more prosperous.
He commended King Salman for his leadership in global oil matters, assuring that Nigeria will continue to accord respect to the Kingdom in that regard.
The Special Envoy said he had brought special greetings from King Salman and the Crown Prince, and expressed their best wishes for Nigeria as the country goes into general elections.
Mr Qattan said the important reason for which King Salman sent him was to make a request to President Buhari to ensure Nigeria’s compliance with quotas assigned in January by exiting previous exemption from output cuts.
He said his country had reduced its own output by 1.4 million barrels per day to ensure that prices went up, stressing however, that Saudi Arabia alone cannot bring stability to the oil market and shore up prices.
The Special Envoy called for greater adherence to production cuts by Nigeria and hoped that he would take a positive message back home.