Sunday, 7 September 2008

Nigeria, Venezuela to Discuss Global Energy Crisis

Nigeria: Nigeria, Venezuela to Discuss Global Energy Crisis

This Day (Lagos)

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Juliana Taiwo

President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua yesterday in Abuja disclosed that he would soon meet his Venezuelan counterpart, President Hugo Chavez, to discuss the current energy situation as well as lay a framework for enhanced bilateral relations.

The planned meeting is coming on the heels of soaring oil prices, which hit another record high of $142 per barrel during trading yesterday.

Yar'Adua disclosed his planned meeting with Chavez during a farewell meeting with the out-going Venezuelan Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Boris Henrique Martinez.

He said such a meeting had become imperative because "fingers are being pointed at both countries as a result of the energy situation in the world."

The president, while acknowledging that both countries have a common responsibility to improve the welfare of their people, stressed the need for "much greater cooperation and collaboration especially in the petroleum sector."

He wished the outgoing Ambassador well in his future endeavours and urged him to continue to promote the interests of Nigeria.

Dr. Martinez thanked the government and people of Nigeria for making his two-year stay in the country a happy one.

No indication was given of whether steps had already been taken to set up a meeting between the two leaders.

Crude oil, which rose to a record of over $142 a barrel in New York, Friday, sent shivers down the spines of many across the globe.

Crude oil for August delivery rose as much as $2.62 a barrel, or 1.9 percent, to $142.26 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was trading at $141.95 at 12:31 p.m. London time yesterday.

The President of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Chakib Khelil said prices might reach between $150 and $170 within months.

Khelil said he believes oil prices could rise to between $150 and $170 a barrel this summer before declining later in the year. However, he does not think prices will reach $200 a barrel.

Concerned about rising oil prices and the impact on the global economy, Saudi Arabia, last weekend, held a one-day summit of oil producers and consumers.

However, the summit failed to reach a concrete agreement on how to stem the rise in oil prices, with several consumers leaving the summit disappointed.

In response to record prices, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill allowing the Justice Department to sue OPEC members for limiting oil supplies and working together to set crude prices.

Venezuela, an anti-U.S. price hawk in OPEC, has consistently opposed calls to raise oil production to stem soaring prices despite heavy pressure from consumer nations.

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Nigeria pumps around two million barrels per day of crude and has said it aims to double output by 2010, but with militant attacks in the Niger Delta and funding shortfalls hampering its industry, most analysts agree that target is rather ambitious.

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