With the global economy reeling from plunging oil prices occasioned by massive over production, Nigeria, a key member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which depends hugely on oil revenue for its foreign exchange, has requested an emergency meeting to discuss steps to possibly cut down oil production and prop up oil prices.
But Nigeria’s call has been opposed by Iran, another prominent OPEC member, which claimed that the time is not yet right for such an intervention.
Minister of state for petroleum resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, made the call for an OPEC emergency while speaking at a panel session at the ongoing World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, adding Nigeria’s voice to those of OPEC members, such as Venezuela, that are requesting an emergency meeting of the oil-producing nations to address the current oil crisis.
Speaking at the session, Kachikwu stated that with the oil industry in its current state, the members of the OPEC, which produce about one-third of the world’s oil, needed to do something proactive soon.
He said, “There is a lot of energy around trying to meet earlier. Obviously, some of that is a panic reaction. Do we just sit back and watch? Or do we put more efforts in talking to countries, like Russia, to try to get some consensus of what we need to be doing?”
However, Iran disagreed with the premise of an emergency meeting as the country’s oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, stated that the organisation currently has little intention of making a drastic change.
“There should be an intention to make a firm decision in such a meeting; otherwise, the meeting will have negative impacts on world oil markets. The important thing is that there must be an intention for change, but we have not yet received such a signal,” the oil minister said, according to Reuters.
As the global economy heads for what is potentially a very volatile year, analysts have said that OPEC, which requires a consensus from all its members before it initiates a change, has to make a decision very soon.
Following the crash of oil price from an average of $114 a barrel in 2014 to less than $30 a barrel presently, Nigeria’s economy, as well as those of many other oil-dependent countries, has had an economic depreciation. Nigeria’s budget is benchmarked at $38 per barrel of oil as the country needs oil price to rally to fund its budget.
Some OPEC members such as Venezuela had called for emergency meeting but others such as Saudi Arabia, said to have an eye on the happenings in Iran as regards oil production, is yet to make a categorical statement on the matter.
There’s No Tension Between Iran and Saudi Arabia – Koozechi
Following the ongoing rift between two Middle East heavy weights, Iran and Saudi Arabia, over the execution of Iran’s top cleric, Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr, the Iranian ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Saeed Koozechi has said that there’s no tension as such between both countries.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP, the envoy stated that even though Iran was very unhappy with Al Nimr’s execution by Saudi Arabia, both countries are not having a regional conflict.
He also stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran also regretted the burning of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, saying some hoodlums took advantage of the situation by taking the laws into their hands.
“We condemn the unfortunate situation in very strong terms and we are happy that the police was able to put the situation under control and no Saudi diplomat was injured in the incident.
“In fact, over 60 arrests have been made while the matter is being investigated and the culprits will soon be charged to court’’, he added.
On how the country is taking the severing of links by Saudi and some other countries with Iran, he said it is regrettable that Saudi Arabia was too quick in reacting the way it did, adding that it was proactive and also encouraged other countries to do same.
Koozechi said he expected Saudi Arabia to have been more thoughtful and logical about the issue, instead of trying to overshadow their wrong doing.