The Republic of Congo was announced as the fifteenth member of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries last week at the closing of the 174th ordinary meeting of the organization. This also makes it the eighth African country in OPEC, joining the ranks of other oil-producing oil countries like Nigeria, Angola, Algeria, Libya etc.
H.E. Jean-Marc Thystère-Tchicaya, the Minister of Hydrocarbons for the Republic of the Congo announced this soon after the OPEC meeting ended. “The Republic of the 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,” he said. “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.”
Becoming a member of OPEC grants any oil-producing country an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of policies instituted by the global oil body. OPEC countries control about 40 percent of the world’s oil production and more than 80 percent of established oil reserves.
OPEC is responsible for the “coordination and unification of the petroleum policies of Member Countries and the determination of the best means for safeguarding their interests, individually and collectively,” and these coordination efforts have made it attractive to many oil-producing countries that were hit by the oil price dip in 2014.
The Republic of Congo has been mired by a huge debt profile, with government revenue falling by a third since 2015. The Central African country, along with Chad and oil-producing Asian countries like Malaysia and Indonesia submitted applications last year to join OPEC.