Saudi Petroleum Minister Says Oil Production Cut Will Not Happen, As Buhari Holds Talks With Saudi King


… President Confirms Nigeria Not Part Of Coalition Of Islamic States Against Terror Despite Invitation

SAN FRANCISCO, February 23, (THEWILL) – Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister, Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi has emphatically ruled out crude oil production cuts by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), erasing the hopes of a descent price rebound of the commodity anytime soon.

Al-Naimi spoke Tuesday at the 35th Annual HIS Energy CeraWeek Convention holding in Houston, Texas.

Despite efforts by some members of OPEC like Nigeria and Venezuela to push for higher crude prices through production cuts or freeze, the Saudi Minister, said keeping production at the January levels is the beginning of a long process to raise the prices but reiterated that member countries would not cut production even if they say they would.

President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday met with King of Saudi Arabia, King Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz in Riyadh to discuss efforts to stabilize the crude market and rebound of oil price as part of a bilateral meeting between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

“If we can get all of the major producers to agree not to add additional barrels, then this high inventory we have now will probably decline in due time.

“It is not like cutting production. That is not gonna happen because many countries are not going to deliver. Even if they say they will cut production, they will not deliver.”

“There is no sense wasting our time seeking production cuts. That will not happen,” he said.

The average price of crude for the OPEC basket is about $29 and change.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell 4.3% to $33.20 at 12:56 p.m. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, fell 4.9% to $31.77.

Al-Naimi, whose remarks about crude oil often affect the market, also said that he’s not concerned about global demand for fossil fuels.

“The fact is that demand was and remains strong,” he said. “You can argue over small percentage falls and rises but the bottom line is that the world demands and gets more than 90 million barrels of day of oil. Long term this will increase. So I have no concerns about demand. That's why I welcome new additional supplies, including shale oil.”

OPEC countries and Russia, one of the top producers have been in talks to freeze production, but Iran has said it would not be a part of any freeze deal as it tries to ramp up production after years of isolation due to sanctions over its nuclear bid.

Nigeria, Saudi Arabia Agree To Rebound Oil Price
President Muhammadu Buhari and King Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia have agreed to work together to and made commitments to doing all that is possible to stabilize the oil market and rebound the oil price.

This was agreed at a bilateral meeting between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia in Riyadh as the two leaders acknowledged that their economies was tied to oil price and that oil prices need to be stable if both countries must boost their economies.

According to Garba Shehu, Spokesman to President Buhari, the leaders engaged in extensive discussions on regional and global issues and also agreed that terrorism posed a common threat to their states and would require close cooperation to prevail over the threats.

Garba quoted Buhari, who was making his first pronouncement on the invitation to join the coalition of Islamic states against terror spearheaded by the Saudis, as congratulating the Kingdom for forming the coalition

“Even if we are not a part of it, we support you,” Buhari said.

“I must thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the recent creation of a coalition to address the menace of international terrorism. Nigeria will support your efforts in keeping peace and stopping the spread of terror in your region.

“This is in consonance with our own commitment and ongoing efforts in seeking to stamp out Boko Haram terrorists from the West African sub-region and Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC).”

Speaking on global terror, Buhari said that “international terrorism made a statement by attacking one of the advanced countries by carrying out an attack on Paris in which 130 were killed. Now we have to come together to find a common solution to the problem of terrorism.”

He thanked the Saudi government for its continuing support to Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.

The leaders also focused on trade between both states and agreed to give fresh support to the joint commission previously established in order to boost commercial and other activities to unify their peoples.

In his remarks, King Salman commended the progress made by Nigeria in combating terrorism and promised to give further support and assistance.

He welcomed the support of the Nigerian government for the new anti-terrorism coalition and implored the President to consider its full membership.

King Salman pledged his full support and cooperation to Nigeria under its present leadership and directed all agencies of his government to follow up on the discussions.

“I now instruct my team to go and sit down with your relevant agencies to push forward cooperation between our states,” the King said.

*** Nathan Bomey of USA Today also contributed to this report.