The Federal Government has rallied African Countries Oil producers in a move geared towards ensuring that the continent benefits maximally from hydrocarbon deposits locked in its shelves. The strategic move by Nigeria was spearheaded by the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, who, in a one fell swoop, peregrinated three nations of Angola, Gabon and South Sudan over the weekend.
Sylva, who doubles as President of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), had toured the African oil producing nations that are also signatories to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC’s) Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) Agreement to discuss compliance ahead of the next Joint Ministerial Meeting Committee (JMMC) of OPEC and non-OPEC countries in Vienna, Austria in December.
He stated that as a member of international energy groups such as the OPEC and APPO, Nigeria needed to further deepen its collaboration with fellow African nations so as to grow the continent’s oil industry.
Sylva, who was accompanied by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari and Nigeria’s OPEC Governor, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, explained that African oil producers needed to work together to judiciously utilize their abundant hydrocarbon resources for the benefit of their respective citizens.
Speaking shortly after meeting the Gabonese Minister of Oil, Gas and Hydrocarbons, Mr. Noel Mboumba in Libreville, Sylva described his meeting with his counterpart on APPO and OPEC as “very fruitful”, saying that both countries had reached meaningful conclusions that would benefit their countries’ oil industry.
“We believe that we can work together, which in the long run, will be good for our respective nations. Our interest in Nigeria is to further deepen our relationship with Gabon going forward,” Sylva told journalists at the Headquarters of the Gabonese Oil Ministry during the meeting.
On his part, Mboumba commended Sylva for the visit, noting that Gabon has a lot to benefit from Nigeria’s experience in the Oil and Gas Industry and leadership at APPO. While meeting the Angolan Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum, Mr. Diamantino Pedro Azevedo in Luanda, Sylva observed that Nigeria was committed to deepening its relationship with the Southern African nation even beyond the oil and gas business.
“You will see a greater and deeper understanding between Nigeria and Angola going forward. We are the two biggest producers in Africa and therefore we need to stand together. If we don’t stand together, other producing African nations cannot come together,” Sylva added.
Earlier on, Azevedo, lauded Sylva for the visit, noting that it was important for Nigeria and Angola to exchange views and share experiences so as to further strengthen their relations dating back to decades.
During his visit to Juba in South Sudan, Sylva called on African Oil Producers to balance the lure of increasing crude oil production alongside the price of the black gold in the market, because “it is better for our economies if the price is fair and reasonable.”
Responding, the South Sudanese Minister of Petroleum, Mr. Awow Daniel Chuang, assured Nigeria – and by extension OPEC and non-OPEC countries in the DoC Agreement – of its commitment to fully comply with the Agreement which he said was voluntarily entered into.