Collapsing oil prices have left African producers facing not only lost revenue when they most need it to tackle coronavirus, but also a fall in hard-won market share they may never regain.
The continent’s producers such as Nigeria, Angola and Algeria cannot compete with the lower costs of erstwhile allies Saudi Arabia and Russia, who are flooding the market with oil.
In a sign of their desperation, the Republic of Congo’s oil minister wrote to OPEC secretary general Mohammad Barkindo on March 20 calling for an urgent meeting to find a way to keep member nations from sinking into recession.
But while desperate for OPEC+, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus Russia, to ride to the rescue, Africa’s oil producers have little leverage over them.
“They have no power,” one Nigerian oil industry source told Reuters. “All they can do is ask.”
Although non-OPEC nations such as Britain, Norway and the United States all have relatively high-cost production, their diversified economies mean they are not dependent on oil.