South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum, Hon. Puot Kang Chol, and Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima have rejected accusations that the decision to cut production by OPEC+ was politically motivated, but rather, based on technical factors. 

The two were speaking during a panel discussion on global energy security moderated by African Energy Chamber Executive Chairman, NJ Ayuk at the 2022 edition of Africa Energy Week (AEW) taking place this week in Cape Town.

H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima and Hon. Puot Kang Chol, reiterated that the decision to cut production by two million barrels during the Ministerial Meeting earlier this month was supported by each and every member of OPEC+.

According to the two energy ministers the decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies to cut oil production was not a political one, or a decision in which African ministers were forced to comply with, but rather the decision was based on technical data and fully supported by all members.

Earlier this month OPEC+ announced that it would slash oil production by 2 million barrels per day starting November. According to the organization the decision was made “in light of the uncertainty that surrounds global economic and oil market outlooks.” This is the biggest cut since the start of the pandemic, in a move that has since threatened to push oil and gas prices higher.

Following this announcement by OPEC, accusations that this move was politically driven began to surface, with the US accusing the organization of bowing to Russia’s pressures. While OPEC and its allies control about 40% of global oil production, the body still insists that its decision to cut oil production aims to stabilize the market and ensure more consistency between the physical and paper markets which many countries worldwide are seeking.

“If OPEC decides to have a meeting and decide something, it is not something that is up for debate by others. We were not forced to agree to production cuts. Each country entered OPEC willingly. We were not forced by anyone: we did it purposefully,” stated Kang Chol.

“It was not a political decision but a technical agreement, and therefore, should only be addressed technically and not politically,” he added

The global oil market has experienced the highest fluctuations in the last two years owing to the COVID-19 recovery pressures and geopolitical tensions currently affecting the globe. Global oil prices have been at their peak this year with its highest being in March where it first hit $139 after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Gabriel Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, also reiterated that, “The decision at OPEC was not political. What the consumers and producers want is stability of pricing and demand. If you look at the price for consumers, the price has not gone down, it has been maintained.”

During his keynote presentation at AEW 2022, Haitham Al Ghais, Secretary General of OPEC, stated that the producers of the declaration of cooperation remain a vital stabilizing force despite being in a period of great uncertainty.

“ The last meeting was held a few days ago and the heads of delegations unanimously decided to take a proactive stance to create stability in global markets.

“With the very real potential of a global recession, there was a consensus among the ministers. I would like to thank the African heads of delegations for their ongoing support to provide lasting stability in global oil markets,”

 “Our efforts at the declaration of cooperation aims to provide stable oil markets.” Al Ghais’ added

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