Africa’s top three oil producers discuss oil market and sliding crude prices

March 17, 2015 | Africa, Commodities & Oilprice

Algiers, Algeria | –  Algerian Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi has held discussions  with the visiting Angolan Petroleum Minister, Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos, and Nigeria’s ambassador to Algeria, Haruna Ginsau, to assess the current oil market situation marked by sliding crude prices.

This meeting among Africa’s top three oil producers and exporters “is part of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s initiative aimed at strengthening dialogue and consultations among all oil-exporting countries, both members and non-members of OPEC,” Yousfi told journalists after the closed-door meeting at the Energy Ministry on Monday.

The stake is to “share short- and medium-term analyses about the oil market, to see what are the impacts (of falling oil prices) on our countries’ economies and to consider the possibilities to consolidate cohesion among exporting countries to find joint solutions to this situation”, he added.

Asked about the results of the consensus process initiated by President Bouteflika, who had despatched since February several ministers delivering messages to other oil producing countries in a bid to restore the oil market balance, Yousfi said “consultations are continuing”, adding that Algeria would further strengthen this dialogue and consultation.

In this regard, he stressed that the oil market was experiencing a “delicate situation” and the disequilibrium of the market had caused “a dramatic fall of oil prices, which had extremely negative repercussions on the economies of all the exporting countries, whether or not they are members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)”.

The Angolan Petroleum Minister stressed the importance of this consultation for African oil producers and the meeting was aimed at “exchanging views and thoughts on the situation in the international oil market”.

“We exchanged our experiences and views regarding the oil industry,” added Botelho de Vasconcelos.

The Nigerian ambassador, meanwhile, welcomed the initiative of President Bouteflika designed to bring together African oil producing countries in order to discuss the situation in the global oil industry.

“The effects of the oil price drop are so deep especially for the African countries. This is why it is necessary that we will always be together in order to share experiences and develop strategies that will enable us to find a solution to such problems,” he added.

As part of the consensus approach launched by Algeria on the current oil situation, the messages of President Bouteflika have been transmitted so far to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia, Colombia as well as to member nations in the African Petroleum Producers Association (APPA) – Nigeria, Gabon, Angola, Congo and Equatorial Guinea.

Meanwhile, the latest OPEC monthly bulleting released Monday says the average price of Algerian oil, the Sahara Blend, had recorded an increase — from US$47.91 per barrel in January to US$58.18 per barrel in February, an increase of US$10.27, supported by the rebound in oil prices in global markets since mid-January.

Despite this increase, the Algerian oil prices remained below their levels recorded during the same period last year when they exceeded US$109 a barrel.

The report said further that Algerian oil production declined slightly from 34,000 barrels per day in February at 1.131 million bpd from 1.165 million bpd in January, quoting Algerian official data.

According to OPEC, the Algerian oil production in recent years had remained stable at 1.2 million bpd.