By Sebastine Obasi
Nigeria’s oil production declined to an average of 1,388 million barrels per day (mbpd) in the first quarter, Q1’17, data obtained from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, showed.
This shows an approximately one percent reduction from the 1,401mbpd recorded in the Q4’16, which also placed Nigeria on the eighth position out of the 13 country members of OPEC.
Leading the pack is Saudi Arabia, with 9,882mbpd, as against 10,602mbpd, in 4Q 2016, followed by Iraq, 4,589mbpd as against 4,802mbpd, Iran, 3,894mbpd, as against 3,993mbpd, United Arab Emirate, 3,1010mbpd as against 3,201mbpd, Kuwait, 2,705mbpd, as against 2,915mbpd within the period under review.
Others include, Venezuela, 2,44mbpd, as against 2,265mbpd, Angola, 1,638mbpd, as against 1,618mbpd, Algeria, 1,087mbpd, as against 1,168mbpd, Qatar, 595mbpd, as against 632mbpd, Ecuador, 533mbpd, as against 543mbpd within the period under review. OPEC did not provide data for Gabon and Libya.
While the decline in production in other OPEC countries within the period under review could be attributed to quota allocation by OPEC, Nigeria’s decline was mainly due to infrastructure vandalism, which made it impossible for the country to meet its OPEC quota of 2 million barrels per day.
In the last one year, the spate of bombings of oil facilities in the Niger Delta had put the Nigerian economy in dire straits, plunging the country further down the road to a financial crisis.
The situation becomes worrisome when viewed against the backdrop that crude oil exports account for about 70 per cent of Nigeria’s revenue and 90 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.
In the wake of the return of hostilities in the Niger Delta, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, stated that Nigeria’s crude oil output had dropped to 1.4 million.
Also, the Trans Forcados, a major export terminal, which resumed operation last May, had been shut down since November 2016 after militants bombed the subsea facility for the second time.
Before the militant attacks, the Forcados stream accounted for between 200,000 and 240,000 barrels per day.
But following the repeated attacks on the Forcados pipeline, companies that fed crude into the Forcados stream have been working around the long-term pipeline outage, exporting oil via barges at the Warri refinery, but this has been limited to roughly 20,000 bpd.