The Republic of the Congo, Africa’s third largest oil producer, joined the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), it was announced today during the organization’s 174th Ordinary Meeting in Vienna. Congo Brazzaville became the fifteenth member of OPEC and the seventh African member nation.
“The Republic of Congo is thrilled and honored to be joining OPEC and to do our part to preserve an equilibrium in global oil markets and ensuring a sufficient flow of investments into hydrocarbons,” H.E. Jean-Marc Thystère-Tchicaya, the Minister of Hydrocarbons, told Africa Oil & Power on the sidelines of the conference. “Severe oil market downturns like the one the world experienced recently remind us of the essential role that institutions like OPEC in ensuring stability. We are proud to cooperate with the world’s oil leaders.”
The Republic of Congo joined OPEC at a time when the organization has become increasingly inclusive. In 2016, Gabon became a member. Equatorial Guinea joined at the end of 2017. Last year, the country was amongst 11 non-member countries that joined OPEC members in production cuts of 1.8 million barrels of oil per day. The so-called Declaration of Cooperation was widely credited for restoring the health of global oil markets that resulted in Brent crude reaching $80 in May, the highest price levels since 2014.
Congo currently produces 280,000 barrels of oil per day, a level that will increase to 350,000 barrels per day when new developments by French oil giant Total come online.