INTERVIEW-Nigeria plans shuttle diplomacy on oil, hopes for freeze deal in June

Kachikwu said a failure in Vienna would encourage more producers to flood the market.

“Saudi, which produces 10.2 million (barrels per day) now, can go to 11.2 million. Russia is doing about 10.5 million and has the capacity of about 12 million so if everybody opens up … there will be much more surplus,” he said.

Iran has refused to participate in any freezing of production levels as Tehran wants to ramp up output after years of Western sanctions. “Iran is pumping more and there will be more if others take a cue,” he said.

The focus of Nigeria’s shuttle diplomacy would be to convince Saudi Arabia and its arch foe Iran to agree on a deal.

“We need to get them realising that both parties can exist in this organisation happily and look at common interest,” Kachikwu said.

He added that Nigeria’s oil production would remain below 2 million bpd due to the closure of a Shell pipeline after an attack by unknown gunmen. Repairs are expected to last until June.

“My intention was to produce over and above 2.2 million (bpd) this year and be able to hit 2.5 million,” Kachikwu said, adding that any extra production would go to local refineries, not exports.