Nigerian Minister: OPEC Cuts Unlikely

Nigerian Minister: OPEC Cuts UnlikelyNigerian Minister: OPEC Cuts Unlikely

Nigerian Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said on Thursday that while a cut in OPEC production is unlikely, there is hope a meeting of producers in Algeria next month could help shore up crude prices.

Kachikwu also said in a speech in Lagos that his country's oil output had fallen to 1.56 million barrels per day as persistent militant attacks took out some 700,000 bpd, Reuters reported.

But he cast doubt on any plans by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to voluntarily reduce their output at the meeting in Algeria.

"Are we cutting volumes? I do not see that happening," Kachikwu told reporters, but added that all options are on the table and other measures could have an impact.

"Will that meeting help lift the price? Well, yes, if we succeed in having conversations with Russia, the USA and Mexico."

Asked whether OPEC members could make a new attempt to agree on a freeze, the Nigerian minister said, "If there is a handshake with individuals across the aisle that would be the beginning."

Russian output currently hovers near an all-time high of 10.85 million bpd. It has signaled it is no longer keen on a dialogue to freeze output and would continue boosting production. North American producers are also expected to add more barrels.

Four streams of Nigeria's oil, including the country's largest, Qua Iboe, along with Bonny Light, Brass River and Forcados are currently under force majeure.

Kachikwu said it was too early to say when Nigeria could increase output as security in its oil hub, the Niger Delta, needed to improve first. The government of President Muhammadu Buhari was continuing talks with militants, he said. "We are talking but is not an easy thing."

The Niger Delta Avengers, which has claimed a wave of attacks, said it would declare the region's independence on Oct. 1 unless the government restructured the country. The group, which apparently split in recent weeks, did not elaborate. "The Buhari-led government has failed Nigerians with their misdirected policies that has divide(d) the country; as such nobody wants to be part of that failed state not even the Niger Delta," the group said on its website.