Iran, Nigeria call for solidarity within OPEC
Iran and Nigeria made a joint appeal last Thursday for "solidarity and coordination" at the heart of OPEC to halt the "price collapse" in crude oil and called on producer and consumer nations to cooperate to that end.
"We have expressed the same common wish to stop the collapse of the price of the barrel" of oil, President Mohammad Khatami said at a joint news conference with President Olusegun Obasanjo.
"We want the position of our two countries to be shared by all the countries (of OPEC), to whom we appeal for solidarity and coordination," the Iranian president added.
The price of crude is currently around $25 a barrel and has been falling for several months after peaking at $35 in October.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi and his Nigerian counterpart Sule Lamido last week signed a joint statement calling for "cooperation between oil producing countries and consumers for the establishment of fair prices."
They also "reaffirmed the importance of OPEC member-states' adherence to decisions of the group and the strengthening of the organization as an important Third World economic grouping in the international economy," it said.
Faced with the drop in prices, several member countries are looking to cut production at the next meeting of oil ministers January 17 in Vienna, probably by some 1.5 million barrels a day (bpd).
Patrick Cole, special advisor to Obasanjo on international issues, told AFP that during the Nigerian president's visit Tehran and Abuja had agreed that they would appeal in Vienna for OPEC's official quotas to be "totally respected" so there would no longer be any "overstepping."
In addition, they will jointly call for "strict appliance" of the informal agreement of March last year.
That provides for a production increase of 500,000 bpd if the basket price of OPEC stays above $28 per barrel for 20 consecutive working days, and a cut of the same size if it stays below 22 dollars for 10 straight days.
Iran is OPEC's second largest oil exporter, producing 3.8 million barrels per day, and Nigeria is the sixth in OPEC ranks, producing two million barrels per day. The two countries cooperate in the technological field, and Nigeria buys "heavy" crude from Iran.
Trade between the two countries, which they want to strengthen, is worth around $40 million, with Iran exporting food, electrical goods and petrochemical products.
Iran succeeded Nigeria Thursday as head of the Group of 77, (G-77), the organization that brings together 133 developing countries which want to strengthen their links. –(AFP, Tehran)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)