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What can Nigeria learn from Angola’s OPEC exit?

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ENERGY FORESIGHT

 with

FRANK UZUEGBUNAM

frankieuz69@gmail.com

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Angola’s decision to withdraw from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a significant move with implications for both the country’s economy and the global oil market. The move underscores Angola’s prioritization of economic growth through the expansion of its fossil fuel projects, particularly crude oil production.

The root cause of Angola’s exit from OPEC lies in its disagreement with the organization’s production quota system. Angola has been aiming to boost and stabilize its crude oil production, targeting levels well above 1 million barrels per day (bpd). However, OPEC’s decision to implement production quotas clashed with Angola’s ambitions. This conflict culminated in a reduction of Angola’s quota for 2024 by 350,000 bpd, a move perceived as detrimental to Angola’s economic interests.

Angola’s Mineral Resources Minister Diamantino Azevedo highlighted that the quota system no longer aligns with the country’s values, interests, capabilities, and needs. This sentiment echoes similar reasons cited by other former OPEC members, such as Indonesia, Ecuador, and Qatar, who exited the organization in previous years due to conflicts between their national interests and OPEC’s objectives.

Angola’s departure reduces OPEC’s membership to 12 nations, leaving the Saudi-led core group with 27% of global oil supply. Meanwhile, Russia and its OPEC+ allies, now comprising 10 nations, contribute an additional 16.5 million bpd. This redistribution of global oil production dynamics could potentially impact oil market dynamics, influencing factors such as supply, demand, and prices.

Despite exiting OPEC, Angola remains a significant player in the global oil market, with production supported by major international oil companies operating in the country’s offshore fields. Companies such as TotalEnergies, Petronas, ExxonMobil, Equinor, Chevron, and the Azule joint venture between BP and Eni have substantial investments in Angola’s oil sector.

Angola’s oil production briefly dipped below 1 million bpd in March 2023 but aims to return to its peak production level of 1.8 million bpd achieved over a decade ago. This ambition indicates Angola’s determination to continue expanding its oil production capacity and leveraging its natural resources for economic development.

Angola’s exit from OPEC, therefore, reflects its prioritization of economic growth through the expansion of its fossil fuel projects. The decision highlights the ongoing tensions between national interests and international oil organizations’ objectives, with potential implications for global oil market dynamics.

Lessons for Nigeria

The decision by Angola to withdraw from OPEC presents several lessons that Nigeria can learn from. Angola’s exit from OPEC underscores the complexities surrounding the management of national interests within the framework of international oil organizations, such as OPEC, and carries implications for both domestic economic strategies and global oil market dynamics. Here are some of what Nigeria can learn from Angola’s OPEC exit:

First, Angola’s departure from OPEC highlights the importance of ensuring that national interests align with the objectives and policies of international organizations. Nigeria should assess whether its goals for oil production and economic growth are compatible with OPEC’s production quota system and other regulations. If there are significant disparities, Nigeria may need to reassess its membership or engagement with the organization to avoid conflicts that could hinder its economic ambitions.

Second, Angola’s decision to prioritize economic growth through the expansion of fossil fuel projects, particularly crude oil production, suggests a strategic focus on leveraging natural resources for development. Nigeria, too, must carefully balance its economic priorities, considering the potential benefits and risks associated with increasing oil production, including environmental concerns, market volatility, and long-term sustainability. Diversification of the economy away from heavy reliance on oil revenues should also be a key consideration.

Third, Angola’s disagreement with OPEC’s production quota system, which led to its exit from the organization, underscores the challenges associated with managing production levels within a multinational framework. Nigeria should closely evaluate its own production targets and assess whether they are in line with OPEC’s quotas and global demand dynamics. Finding a balance between maximizing production to boost revenues and adhering to international agreements to stabilize prices and market equilibrium is crucial.

Fourth, Angola’s departure from OPEC could potentially impact global oil market dynamics, particularly in terms of supply, demand, and prices. Nigeria should closely monitor these developments and adjust its own strategies accordingly to mitigate any adverse effects or capitalize on new opportunities. Understanding the evolving dynamics of the global oil market and adapting to changes in supply and demand patterns is essential for Nigeria to effectively manage its oil resources and maximize economic benefits.

Fifth, despite exiting OPEC, Angola remains a significant player in the global oil market due to its substantial production capacity and investments from major international oil companies. Nigeria should aim to maintain its own relevance and competitiveness in the global oil market by attracting investments, implementing sound policies to support production growth, and fostering a favorable business environment for oil exploration and development.

In a nutshell, Angola’s decision to withdraw from OPEC offers valuable insights for Nigeria in terms of aligning national interests with international organizations, balancing economic priorities, managing production quotas, understanding global oil market dynamics, and maintaining significance in the global oil sector. By carefully considering these lessons, Nigeria can navigate the complexities of the oil industry more effectively and pursue sustainable economic development strategies.

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