President Muhammadu Buhari will travel to Saudi Arabia and Qatar to engage officials of both countries in further talks to ensure stability of oil prices.
Nigeria, yesterday, agreed to freeze the country’s crude oil production at 2.2 million barrels per day this month, same as the level recorded in January, in a bid to address the declining price of crude oil in the international market. Saudi and Russia had earlier announced they were freezing output.
The President, who would be away for a week, will be accompanied on the journey by a high-powered Federal Government delegation, including the Minister of State (Petroleum) and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.
A statement by the presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, yesterday, stated: “Ongoing efforts by Nigeria and other members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, to achieve greater stability in the price of crude oil exports are expected to be high on the agenda of discussions between President Buhari and the Saudi monarch.
“Crude oil prices and market stability will also be on the front burner when President Buhari goes on to Doha, Qatar, on Saturday for talks on Sunday with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.”
The statement said the President would also hold meetings with heads of international financial organisations and multilateral associations in Saudi Arabia and visit Medina and Mecca to pray for greater peace, prosperity and progress in Nigeria before going on to Doha.
Speaking earlier after a meeting with Qatar’s Energy Minister, Mohammed Al Sada and Qatar Petroleum Chief Executive Officer Saad Sharida Al Kaabi in Doha, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, had said the decision was in support of the decision of Saudi Arabia and Russia to freeze oil production.
“Nigeria will continue to look at the possibility of increasing production, not to sell it, because we have local consumption that is essential for us.
“Right now, we are not even exporting the quantity that OPEC has given us. Demand from domestic refineries is at least 500,000 barrels of oil a day,” he explained.