Equatorial Guinea, Africa’s third-largest oil producer, has announced its intentions to join the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) this year, the ministry of mines and hydrocarbons said this week, adding that oil minister Gabriel Mbaga Obiang recently held talks with OPEC officials at the cartel’s headquarters in Vienna (Austria).
Equatorial Guinea produces 248 000 barrels per day and had 1.1 billion barrels of proved reserves as of January 2015, according to the CIA WorldFactbook. The country joined 10 non-cartel members on December 10 to cut 558 000 barrels per day of oil production through 2017.
With 32.5 million barrels per day of output projected this year, OPEC is the world’s largest organisation of oil producers and Equatorial Guinea is set to become its 14th member.
“For decades, Equatorial Guinea has achieved a sterling track record as a dependable supplier of petroleum to consumers in all corners of the world. 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,” the minister said in a statement.
Mbaga Obiang’s trip to Vienna on January 20 follows the 4th Africa-Arab Summit in November that hosted several OPEC members in the capital Malabo.
The meeting was held under the patronage of President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
Critics claim that Mbasogo, in power since 1979, has been ruling the Central Africa nation and former Spanish colony with iron-fist amid massive human rights violations and a crackdown on political opponents, rights activists and critical journalists.
And despite the oil money wealth, millions of Equato-Guineans are believed to be living in misery and grinding poverty without jobs, electricity, safe drinking water, adequate housing and sanitation, and modern clinics.
Former Gambia strongman Yahya Jammeh has recently ‘fled’ to Equatorial Guinea after desperately trying to hold on to power amid an election defeat and pressure from West African leaders, and the determination of regional forces to take him down.
Photo credit: Energy Mix Report