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Nigeria Says It Will Remain In OPEC - 2002-08-01

Nigeria says it will remain a member of OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, ending speculation that it would quit the cartel in order to pump more crude oil.

Nigeria's presidential advisor on petroleum affairs, Rilwanu Lukman, said Thursday that rumors Nigeria would leave the OPEC were false. But Mr. Lukman also said Nigeria will urge the cartel to increase its export quota.

Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, Mr. Lukman -- who also serves as OPEC president -- said that Nigeria's production quota of less than two-million barrels a day is too low.

Experts say in the near future Nigeria will be capable of producing three million barrels a day.

Nigeria is the world's sixth largest oil exporter and Africa's largest.

Many other OPEC members have been against increasing quotas, arguing the move could force oil prices down.

Last week, a British newspaper (The Independent) reported that Nigeria was considering withdrawing from OPEC, causing international oil prices to dip briefly.

Nigeria's Information Minister (Jerry Gana) said last week, the United States had been pressuring Nigeria to leave OPEC to reduce America's reliance on Middle Eastern oil. U-S officials have denied the allegation.