Equatorial Guinea wants to join OPEC. On Friday, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, met with officials in Vienna to submit his country’s interest to become the 14th member of the cartel.
“For decades, Equatorial Guinea has achieved a sterling track record as a dependable supplier of petroleum to consumers in all corners of the world,” the Minister said in a statement. “We firmly believe that Equatorial Guinea’s interests are fully aligned with those of OPEC in serving the best interests of the industry, Africa and the global economy.”
In recent months, Equatorial Guinea has strengthened its relationship with Arab members of OPEC, hosting the Africa-Arab Summit in Malabo in November 2016. Equatorial Guinea has previously flirted with joining OPEC, the most recent discussions taking place in 2009. The driving force of the new effort is H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, who says he wants Equatorial Guinea to join other producers in stabilizing global financial markets. In December, Equatorial Guinea joined 10 other non-cartel members in a pledge to reduce 558,000 barrels of oil production this year. Equatorial Guinea’s share of the cut amounts to 12,000 barrels per day. OPEC had earlier agreed to scale production back to 32.5 million barrels per day in an effort to lift up the oil price.
Equatorial Guinea is the third largest oil and gas producer in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite a sluggish oil price for the past two years, the country has maintained oil output levels at roughly 200,000 barrels per day. If accepted, Equatorial Guinea would become the sixth African country to join OPEC and the first since Gabon rejoined in July 2016.