President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged the cooperation of Nigeria to the effort to reduce oil output in order to attract higher prices in the global market.
The President made the promise on Wednesday when he received Mr Ahmad Qattan, Minister of State for African Affairs and Special Envoy of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia.
He said as a responsible member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Nigeria was willing to go along with the Saudi initiative in limiting output so that prices would go up.
President Buhari noted that output cuts had always been difficult for Nigeria, considering the country’s peculiar circumstances of a large population, a huge expanse of land, and state of under-development.
“I wish we can produce more,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.
The President added, “I have listened carefully to the message. I will speak with the Minister of State Petroleum. I will call for the latest production figures. I know that it is in our interest to listen. We will cooperate.”
He was hopeful that higher oil prices would make both nations stronger and their citizens more prosperous.
President Buhari commended King Salman for his leadership in global oil matters and assured him that Nigeria would continue to accord respect to the Kingdom in that regard.
Earlier, the special envoy told the President that he had brought special greetings from King Salman and the Crown Prince, as well as their best wishes for Nigeria as the country goes into general elections.
He said the important reason for which King Salman sent him was to make a request to President Buhari to ensure Nigeria’s compliance with quotas assigned in January by exiting previous exemption from output cuts.
Mr Qattan informed the President that his country had reduced its own output by 1.4 million barrels per day, to ensure that prices went up.
He, however, stressed that Saudi Arabia alone cannot bring stability to the oil market and shore up prices.
The Special Envoy called for greater adherence to production cuts by Nigeria and hoped that he would take a positive message back home.