The Secretary General, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Dr. Mohammed Barkindo, says Nigeria has assumed a strong, proactive role in the oil industry globally.
Barkindo said this while delivering a keynote address at the 17th edition of the annual Nigeria Oil and Gas Strategic Conference and International Exhibition in Abuja on Tuesday.
“We can truly say that we are living through a golden era of Nigerian statesmanship. This is testimony to the way in which President Muhammadu Buhari has elevated the international profile of our country.
“Nigeria has historically assumed a strong, proactive leadership role in OPEC. I am delighted to be able to inform you that following a decision at the 174th OPEC Conference on June 22, 2018, the African continent gained an additional voice in our organisation; the Republic of Congo became the 15th member country of OPEC.
“This is a tremendous boost for our entire organisation, a positive trajectory, which saw Gabon rejoin OPEC in 2016 and Equatorial Guinea in 2017.’’
The OPEC boss said petroleum would remain a rallying factor that brings units of people together to facilitate day to day activities.
“At this very moment as I speak, school children are boarding the bus to make their way to morning lessons. Mothers and fathers are returning home after working nightshifts.
“An elderly grandparent is being transported to see their doctor. Farmers are fertilising their fields. Families are being reunited, communities are being brought together.
“These are scenes being repeated millions of times here and across the globe. What links these seemingly disparate scenes of everyday life? Petroleum.
“Indeed, oil is so intrinsic in daily life that we sometimes overlook the fact that our industry has an impact on the individual experiences of billions of people,’’ he said.
Barkindo said although the industry was far from being perfect, actors in the sector could take pride in oil’s role in fuelling modern civilisation, lifting millions out of poverty and contributing to sustainable development.
He said extreme volatility in the oil market had very negative consequences for both consumers and producers, noting that, “low oil prices are bad for producers today and create situations that are bad for consumers tomorrow, and high oil prices are bad for consumers today and lead to situations that are bad for producers tomorrow.
“Volatility is a devastating disincentive for investment, which is the lifeblood of our industry and essential for ensuring adequate supply in the future.
“We saw this during the last industry downturn. From 2014 to 2016, world oil supply growth outpaced that of oil demand, with world oil supply growing by 5.8 million barrel per day (mb/d), while world oil demand increased by 4.3 mb/d.
“By July 2016, commercial stock overhang reached a record high of about 403mb over the five-year average. The OPEC Reference Basket price fell by an extraordinary 80 per cent between June 2014 and January 2016.
“What was particularly ominous for consumers was the fact that investments were choked-off, with exploration and production spending falling by an enormous 25 per cent in both 2015 and 2016.
“Additionally, nearly one trillion dollars in investments were frozen or discontinued, and many thousands of high quality jobs were lost.