The newly elected president of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has said her one year reign at the helm of affairs of the organisation will be dominated by keen focus on energy security and balance in crude oil market.
Alison-Madueke who was Thursday elected the first female president of OPEC at the 166th general meeting of the body in Vienna, Austria, told diaspora Nigerians in Austria that the position will amongst other benefits, afford Nigeria the opportunity to be at the forefront of making key decisions in the global energy circle.
She said at a dinner organised in her honour by the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna that Nigeria and the African continent will benefit from the development, and not only the member countries of OPEC in Africa.
“When you are in the position, you are also able to relate across board in a very operational way with member countries and also non-member countries of OPEC as well who today are putting a lot of volumes of production in the market,” Alison-Madueke said.
She added: “As seen today in the downward spiral in price of crude oil, Saudi Arabia is not the only big producer but it is the only OPEC member in the big oil producers and so there is a lot of balancing that needs to be done and of course, in that position, you are at the forefront of doing that.
You are also at the forefront of ensuring energy security which is a major issue globally for us at this point in time.”
“We will also be ensuring that our economies and not just OPEC member countries but of African countries that are now at the forefront of producing oil and gas are also given the frameworks to create enabling environment to allow us to become much more competitive in today’s global crude oil market.
That is a critical objective because the end-user markets are becoming fewer at this time and we must be competitive if are going to step in there and grab a good percent of the market share of the end user market,” the minister noted.
She then stated: “I think that it is a position that will of course wield quite a bit of advantages for us not just in terms of OPEC member countries but also in terms of the African continent.”
The minister also talked about government’s intention to sustain supply of petroleum products within its petroleum subsidy scheme in the forthcoming yuletide seasons.
“I think I can say that since we came in, we had not had shortages at Christmas at all and that is because we had had to bend backwards. When in fact we had had shortages, it is as a result of various strikes, particularly with NUPENG and PENGASSAN and for one reasons or the other when they had called members out on strike and even at that we have been quite historic in our ability to keep the country wet with petroleum products,” Alison-Madueke explained.