AFRICA – Nigeria, led by its Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva in October visited various oil producing countries in the continent amid a backdrop of increased volatility in global oil prices.

According to a statement from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Sylva, who doubles as President of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation, visited the African oil producing nations that are also signatories to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Declaration of Cooperation Agreement.

The Nigerian delegation according to the statement team visited Gabon and South Sudan and held consultative talks with stakeholders drawn from various sectors in the oil industry.

The statement further revealed that on top the delegation’s agenda was to seek ways that will ensure they derived maximum benefits from hydrocarbon deposits in their respective countries.

Issues that had to do with compliance ahead of the next Joint Ministerial Meeting Committee of OPEC and non-OPEC countries in Vienna, Austria in December were also discussed during the meeting, the statement said.

The minister stated that as a member of international energy groups such as the OPEC and APPO, Nigeria needed to further deepen its collaboration with fellow African nations so as to grow the continent’s oil industry.

The price of Brent, which is the form in which Nigeria’s crude oil is priced, has been falling sharply in the recent past partly due to over-supply and partly due to intensified trade wars between the US and China.

The prices however appreciated slightly in mid-October to $60.51 per barrel largely due to the decision by OPEC to cut down production by 1.7 million bopd.

During the first week of October, Brent recorded daily consecutive fall in price, as it hovered around $57 and $58 per barrel.

But international crude oil prices obtained by our Nigeria’s Punch Correspondent on the second week of October, showed that the commodity moved up marginally, appreciating by $1.41 when compared to what it sold for the preceding day.

The current fluctuations in oil prices have been putting pressure on African countries that mainly rely on oil as their main source of revenue and foreign exchange to look for alternative means of getting revenue.

Nigeria for example has been shifting focus on non-oil exports and is currently focusing on the country’s agricultural potential and manufacturing sector to help diversify its exports.