By Roseline Okere
Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu in a handshake with Minister of Energy of Russia, Alexander Novak, at the sideline of the just concluded Organisation Petroleum Exporting meeting in Vienna.
Russia’s Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, has unveiled his country’s interest to explore Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, saying that preliminary technical talks will commence as soon as possible between the two countries.
He extended an invitation to Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu to visit Russia during the next Gas Exporting Countries Forum Ministerial Meeting, scheduled for October, where further talks on the matter can take place.
According to a statement from the Ministry and signed by its Director, Press, Idang Alibi, the minister had approached Novak, to explore areas of mutual interest in their respective petroleum industry.
Kachikwu had expressed Nigeria’s interest in having Russia and Russians come to participate in the nation’s growing oil sector, pointing out that the reforms and processes being put in place are aimed at enhancing the investment climate in the country. He said these have already recorded major achievements with the ongoing implementation of the Seven Big Wins -Nigerian Petroleum Roadmap.
In a another development, the Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, has lauded Nigeria’s role in the recent admittance of the Country into the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Country (OPEC) membership.
Lima stated, “In one of the most critical moments of our oil history, Nigeria through its Minister, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, stood by our side and showed itself to be a true friend and partner.
He further added, “Equatorial Guinea will always remember with gratitude and affection how Nigeria offered us support on our OPEC application and extraordinary assistance along with our African brothers,” and thanked Nigeria for supporting it to give Africa a stronger voice in OPEC.
Meanwhile, OPEC announced the appointment of Nigeria’s National Representative to the Organisation, Olusegun Adekunle as the Alternate Chairman of the 127th OPEC Economic Commission Board.
Kachikwu expressed delight at the development while congratulating Adekunle, and urged him to continue to work hard to justify the appointment and make Nigeria proud.
Alibi said in the a statement that the decision by OPEC members to extend production cut was taken in recognition of the positive impact the first agreement has made on the market in its first five months of implementation and also the fact that more needs to be done to rebalance market fundamentals.
He added that OPEC conference, which took place in Vienna last week, also agreed to extend the special consideration given to Nigeria and Libya from participation in the production cut.
This decision, he noted, was taken despite speculation before the meeting that Nigeria was going to be made to participate in the production cut in view of the improvements it has recorded in oil production since the first agreement came into effect. Indeed, a number of both OPEC and Non-OPEC countries had expressed their interest to see that Nigeria was brought into the fold.
He disclosed that the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, and Head of Nigeria’s Delegation to the OPEC Conference Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu stated on the sidelines of the meeting that between the six to nine months’ window, all things being equal, Nigeria should get to the optimal production figures and will be willing to join any needed production cuts. In his words,
“Nigeria is not averse to production cuts as every responsible nation needs to make sacrifices to help price stability on a global basis.” This optimism is informed by his belief that the Nigerian oil industry under his guidance is on course to achieving the objectives of the 7BIGWINS, which will see to the major overhaul of the industry including ramping up local crude production”, he added.