By Sebastine Obasi
All is not well in Nigeria’s oil industry as the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) stated that oil output dropped to an average of 1.24 million barrels per day (bpd) from 1.25 million recorded in February 2022.
NUPRC stated this in its latest crude oil and condensate production data for March 2022.
Vanguard learnt that the figure represents a 0.80 per cent decrease from the previous month, representing the lowest production capacity so far in the year. Nigeria is said to be producing below 1.4 million barrels per day in 2022, failing to meet its Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota of about 1.8 million bpd.
The development is coming amid controversies surrounding the actual volume of oil that ended in the hands of illegal bunkers. The decline in oil output has also depleted revenue accrued to the federation account amid zero remittances from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited despite soaring oil prices. Last March, Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum resources, had outlined poor investment and the exit of oil majors as major issues affecting Nigeria’s inability to meet the oil production quota.
NUPRC also stated that Nigeria lost more than 115,000 barrels per day (bpd) to oil theft and vandalism between January 2021 and February 2022, which amounts to $3.27 billion worth of crude oil.
It will be recalled that last week, President Muhammadu Buhari asked the House of Representatives to adjust the 2022 fiscal framework to include an increase in the projected oil price benchmark, from $62 per barrel to $73 per barrel, up by US$11 per barrel. Buhari also asked for a reduction in the projected oil production volume by 283,000 barrels per day, from 1.883 million barrels per day to 1.6 million barrels per day.