September 26, 2018 / 10:39 AM / in 2 months

OPEC will balance oil markets, but spare capacity limited: Nigerian official

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will act to balance the market after oil prices hit their highest in four years, but its options may be limited by available spare capacity, a Nigerian oil industry official said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Organization of the Petroleoum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at OPEC's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

“It’s obvious that if you have high prices it’ll affect demand, so you have to do some market balance,” Malam Mele Kyari, head of crude oil marketing at Nigeria’s state oil firm NNPC and also the country’s OPEC representative, told Reuters.

“OPEC will do everything to stabilise, to balance the market but I’m sure you’re also aware that there’s a limit to what they can do. You must have the spare capacity,” Kyari said.

Oil prices surged this week on uncertainty over the global supply outlook following U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and also as Saudi Arabia and Russia ruled out any immediate boost to output.

Kyari said Nigeria planned to increase its crude oil, condensate output by 100,000 barrels per day by the end of the year, up from about 2 million bpd currently.

The country’s current crude oil production is about 1.7 million bpd, he said.

In 2019, the African producer is aiming for an average output of 2.3 million bpd by boosting output from existing fields as well as starting new production from an ultra deepwater field, Kyari said.

Located some 130 kilometres off Nigeria’s coast at water depths of more than 1,500 metres, the Egina oilfield is expected to start production in December and its output could peak at 200,000 bpd.

Kyari was in Singapore to launch the new Egina crude grade with field operator French oil major Total at APPEC.

The crude has an API gravity of 27.3 degrees and has a sulphur content of 0.165 percent, a provisional crude assay from Total showed.

The grade has a higher yield of gasoil and vacuum distillates compared with other products, according to the assay.

Reporting by Florence Tan and Jessica Jaganathan; Editing by Tom Hogue and Jane Merriman

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