*OPEC delays long-term strategy amid rift over production
with agency reports
18 Novemmber 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Nigeria’s economy, the largest in Africa, expanded at a slightly faster pace in the third quarter as oil production increased.
Gross domestic product rose 2.8 percent from a year ago, compared with 2.4 percent in the second quarter and 6.2 percent in the same period of 2014, the National Bureau of Statistics said in an e-mailed report on Tuesday. Oil output jumped to 2.17 million barrels a day from 2.05 million barrels.
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, is struggling to cope with an almost 60 percent plunge in crude prices since June last year. Economic growth is set to slow to 3.9 percent this year from 6.3 percent in 2014, according to the median estimate of 10 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
The oil industry rose 1.1 percent in the three months to the end of September, after contracting 6.8 percent in the previous quarter, the statistics agency said. The non-oil industry, which makes up 90 percent of GDP, increased 3.1 percent in the third quarter, down from 7.5 percent a year earlier. Manufacturing fell 1.8 percent, the third consecutive quarterly contraction.
Meanwhile, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) board of governors was unable to agree on the group’s long-term strategy plan and won’t present it to oil ministers when they meet on Dec. 4 in Vienna, two OPEC delegates with knowledge of the matter said.
Approval of the plan is delayed until at least the next meeting of the board of governors in 2016, said the delegates, who asked not to be identified because the plan isn’t public. Calls to the headquarters of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna weren’t immediately answered.
Governors of the 12-member group couldn’t agree on the final draft of the plan at a meeting in Vienna earlier this month, the delegates said. The governors disagreed on clauses suggested by some members, including about curtailing output, setting production quotas and finding ways to maximize OPEC profit, according to the delegates.
OPEC ministers are to meet on Dec. 4 to assess the oil market and the group’s output policy. Venezuela and Algeria are among OPEC states most affected by the slump in oil price and have long urged fellow members to curb production and support prices. Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, led the group to switch its strategy in November 2014 to focus on pressuring competitors such as U.S. shale producers and reclaiming market share.
Oil tumbled since the middle of last year as U.S. stockpiles and production expanded, creating a global oversupply. OPEC decided at its last meeting on June 5 to keep its production target of 30 million barrels a day unchanged, although the group has exceeded the ceiling for the past 17 months. OPEC member Iran has asked OPEC to accommodate its planned production increase once sanctions are lifted.