Following Equatorial Guinea’s application to join the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the country’s Mines and Hydrocarbon Minister Gabriel Mbaga Obiang on Wednesday said it expects a decision soon on the offer, Reuters has reported.
According to Obiang in response to emailed questions from Reuters, “We’ve held fruitful discussions. This is going to move faster than we expect.”
On Monday the energy ministry said the country had applied to join the oil producers’ cartel, seeking to become OPEC’s 14th member and the sixth from Africa, an addition that would help raise the continent’s influence and profile in the corridors of global oil production and pricing.
The offer to join was made when Obiang travelled to Vienna last Friday to meet OPEC officials, including representatives from OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia and Nigeria’s Mohammad Barkindo, the current secretary general of the cartel. He also met officials from key non-OPEC producer Russia.
Obiang said the small West African nation, which agreed to production cuts in 2017 as part of a coordinated agreement with OPEC and non-OPEC countries, wanted a stable global oil price and was willing to discuss further cooperation with OPEC to achieve this.
“We are eager to see a stabilisation of the petroleum market, and we were happy to cooperate with the current production cuts to do our part in reducing the global oversupply. We would be open to discussing future endeavours of cooperation,” Obiang said.
Oil prices edged higher on Tuesday ahead of weekly U.S. inventory data on evidence the global market was tightening as lower production by OPEC and other exporters drains stocks.