Home / OIL & GAS / Buhari, Sylva, NNPC boss meet over Middle East tension

Buhari, Sylva, NNPC boss meet over Middle East tension

Buhari, Sylva, NNPC boss meet over Middle East tensionThe President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, went into a crucial meeting on Wednesday amid the escalating United States of America/Iran tensions and the impact on global oil prices.

Nigeria’s Brent crude already recorded a rise of 2.4 per cent in price in the past days, increasing a barrel price to $70.24 as of Tuesday.

The country’s daily oil production output is put at 2.18 million barrels.

Buhari doubles as the country’s Minister of Petroleum Resources.

The meeting with Sylva, which started about 3pm, ended around 3.41pm. It was held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The President had met separately with the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr Mele Kyari, ahead of the meeting with Sylva.

Both the minister of state and GMD declined to speak with State House Correspondents after their meetings with Buhari.

However, findings indicated that recent changes in global oil prices were mentioned, especially on how they would rub on the funding of the 2020 budget of N10.59tn.

“You know, oil revenue remains a major source of funding the budget.

“So, if we are expecting sales in excess of the $57 pegged as the crude oil benchmark of the budget the President signed into law on December 19, it would naturally have been discussed at the meeting”, The PUNCH reported

Another petroleum ministry official told media source  that Sylva and Kyari went to see Buhari for routine briefings.

The official too did not rule out the possibility of oil prices being on the agenda.

The official stated, “The minister went for routine briefing.

“You would have noticed that these briefings are regular, just to keep Mr President abreast of developments in the ministry.

“Heads of ministries, departments and agencies like the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Godwin Emiefele) and other ministers like that of Finance/Budget Planning (Zainab Ahmed) have also been holding routine meetings with Mr President.

“Yes, a meeting between Sylva and the President today (Wednesday) may not exclude oil prices in view of the latest developments and the implications on prices for oil-dependent economies like ours.”

Recall that Buhari had introduced a budget of N10.33tn for 2020 to the National Assembly in October, 2019.

However, by the time the lawmakers passed the 2020 Appropriation Bill on December 5, they had raised it to N10.59tn. That brought the total deficit to about N2.28tn.

They also raised the oil benchmark from $55 to $57 per barrel.

Tensions have escalated between the US and Iran since the killing of the Commander of the Iranian Quds Force, Major General Qasem Soleimani, in a US air strike over Iraq on January 3.

On Wednesday, Iran, a key oil producing country, retaliated by attacking US military bases in Iraq, a move global oil price watchers said could further push prices up in the days ahead.

Back home, observers say while this may seem favourable to countries like Nigeria, it also means higher budgeting on fuel subsidy by the refined petroleum-importing nation.

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