Angola to leave Opec 'in defence of its interests'

African nation does not gain anything by remaining in the organisation, Oil Minister says

Angola's Minister of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas Diamantino Azevedo at the Opec headquarters for a meeting in Vienna in June. Reuters
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Angola has decided to leave the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), its Minister of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas Diamantino Azevedo said on Thursday.

The decision was taken at a session of the Council of Ministers, led by the country's President Joao Lourenco, Angolan news agency Angop reported.

"We feel that at the moment Angola does not gain anything by remaining in the organisation and, in defence of its interests, it has decided to leave," the report quoted Mr Azevedo as saying.

He emphasised that the country had always fulfilled its obligations.

Angola joined the oil producers' group in 2007.

Oil prices dropped further following the announcement on Thursday, with Brent, the global benchmark for two thirds of the world's oil, down by 1.68 per cent to $78.37 a barrel at 6pm UAE time. West Texas Intermediate, the gauge that tracks US crude, was trading 1.63 per cent lower at $73.02 a barrel.

"Back at the Opec+ June meeting, there was an agreement that independent companies will review the production quotas of three Opec member states," UBS strategist Giovanni Staunovo said.

"The conclusion was that Angola’s production quota was massively reduced and the country did not like that cut."

The 2024 production quotas decided in June included a lower target for nine of the 23 Opec+ member countries: Russia, Nigeria, Angola, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Equatorial Guinea, Congo, Brunei and Sudan.

Angola last month was given a target of sticking to 1.11 million barrels per day of output in 2024.

"From an oil market supply perspective, the impact [of Angola's exit] is minimal as oil production in Angola was on a downward trend and higher production would first require higher investments," Mr Staunovo said.

"However, prices still fell on concern of the unity of Opec+ as a group but there is no indication that more heavyweights within the alliance intend to follow the path of Angola."

In their meeting late last month, Opec+ members extended their voluntary oil output reductions until the end of the first quarter of 2024 amid concerns over fuel demand.

Opec+ now has total production cuts in place of 3.66 million barrels per day, which includes a two million bpd reduction agreed last year, as well as voluntary cuts of 1.66 million bpd announced in April.

Oil prices, which briefly touched $98 in September, are now down roughly 25 per cent on concerns of a demand slump despite predictions of a tight crude market by the International Energy Agency and Opec.

Opec this month stuck to its oil demand growth forecast for 2023 and 2024 and expects “resilient” GDP growth globally to support crude demand next year.

Global oil demand growth forecast for this year was unchanged from last month’s estimate at 2.5 million bpd. In 2024, oil demand is expected to grow by 2.2 million bpd, supported by improving economic activity in China, it said.

Updated: December 22, 2023, 6:31 AM