GHANA is not in a haste to become a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as it starts oil production soon, Edward Bawa, a spokesman for the Minister of Energy, has said.

The priority of the government now is to ensure the production of the crude in commercial quantities, he told the Times in an interview.

Mr Bawa said membership of OPEC had far reaching implications and it was only at the Cabinet level that that decision could be arrived at.

He said OPEC's influence on the world price of crude oil had diminished because of numerous emerging oil fields globally, notably in Alaska, the North Sea, Canada, the Gulf of Mexico and Russia, among others.

OPEC is a cartel of 12 oil producing countries of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran and Iraq Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qater Sandi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Collectively, OPEC members through their collective decision, ensure the stabilization of oil prices on the international markets with the view to eliminating harmful and unnecessary fluctuation.

They account for two-thirds of the world oil reserves and produce 33.3 per cent of the world's oil which enables them to considerably control the global market.

The next largest group of producers members of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Post Soviet states produce only 23.8 per cent and 14.8 per cent respectively, of the world's total oil production.