Members of OPEC have discussed holding an emergency meeting if crude continues to slide, Nigeria’s oil minister said, according to The Financial Times.
The comments by Diezani Alison-Madueke come three months after the cartel’s decision to hold production at 30m barrels a day, even as the oil price has plunged since mid-June.
That move, driven by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, marked a sharp deviation from OPEC’s traditional strategy of adjusting production to keep prices high. The group’s main objective is now to defend market share, despite dramatically reduced revenues.
The price plunge has forced energy companies all over the world to rewrite their investment plans, and caused a major slowdown in the US shale oil industry. But it has also thrown the fiscal balances of big oil producers such as Nigeria, Venezuela and Russia into disarray.
“Almost all OPEC countries, except perhaps the Arab bloc, are very uncomfortable,” said Ms Alison-Madueke, who as president of OPEC is responsible for liaising with member countries and the producer group’s secretary-general in the event of an emergency meeting.
If the price “slips any further it is highly likely that I will have to call an extraordinary meeting of OPEC in the next six weeks or so”, she said in an interview with the Financial Times. “We’re already talking with member countries.”