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Congo Republic plans to join OPEC oil cartel

Congo Republic plans to join OPEC oil cartel

BRAZZAVILLE: Congo Republic plans to join the OPEC oil cartel, the government said, as the former French colony presses ahead with projects that could help it become the third-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The Republic of Congo has decided to accede to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC),” the statement dated Jan. 11 but sent out to journalists on Wednesday.

Congo’s oil sector was badly hurt by the global dip in prices and a slowdown in its own output since 2014, but it has been rejuvenated by new projects scheduled to boost output by a quarter to 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year. If successful, the country, where Italy’s ENI  and France’s Total are among the operators, will be the no. 3 oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, analysts say.

“This imminent accession expresses the will of his Excellency (Congo President) Denis Sassou Nguesso to place our country in the rank of the world’s leaders,” the statement, signed by Nguesso’s director of cabinet Florent Ntsiba, added.

He said Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir had expressed support for the idea during a visit to Brazzaville on Jan. 8.