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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK
Nigeria to seek increased oil output
Opec's Vienna headquarters
The next Opec meeting is due in September
Nigeria has said it is to lobby the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) oil cartel to allow it to increase its oil production quota.

The country's Junior Finance Minister Jubril Martins-Kuye said that President Olusegun Obasanjo would be seeking to meet key Opec members.

"It is our (cabinet's) view that the president has to go on a diplomatic shuttle to talk to OPEC...on the urgent need to increase Nigeria's oil export quota because the revenue shortfall as a result of the quota reduction is affecting our revenue drastically," Mr Martins-Kuye said.

"The argument we are going to advance to justify this demand...is that it is depriving us enough money to finance our nascent democracy.

"We must have enough money to ensure its survival," he added.

Oil exports account for about 95% of Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings, and the country is eager to increase exports to raise income.

Target range

But the AFP news agency quoted an unnamed Opec source as saying that the oil cartel had no plans to change its current output levels before its next planned meeting in September.

"There will be nothing before the next conference, but it is going to be on the agenda," the source is quoted as saying.

"If prices are within the comfort zone I don't think we need to do anything," the source added.

Opec has a target price range of between $22-28 a barrel, with oil prices currently in the middle of the range.

Nigeria's request could increase speculation that the country is about to leave the cartel.

Last week Nigerian officials denied that such a move was on the cards.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Elliott Gotkine
"Nigeria needs Opec even more than the cartel needs Nigeria"
See also:

08 Mar 02 | Business
08 Apr 02 | Business
26 Jun 02 | Business
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