According to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Nigeria raised its crude oil production by 31.1 million barrels over the course of four months as security in the country’s oil-producing Niger Delta region improved.
OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report for February 2022 indicated that the average crude oil output from Nigeria in the third quarter of 2022 was 0.999 million barrels per day, based on information received through direct contact. On Thursday, this data was collected in Abuja.
Nevertheless, this increased to an average of 1.258 million barrels per day (mbpd) in January 2023, which is an estimated daily increase of 259,000 barrels and a monthly increase of 7.77 mbpd (30 days).
This suggests that throughout the four months of October, November, December, and January, the nation pumped an additional 31.1 million barrels of petroleum.
According to additional study of OPEC’s statistics, the country produced an average of 1.186 mbpd in November 2022, 1.235 mbpd in December 2022, and 1.258 mbpd in January 2023, compared to 0.999 mbpd in the third quarter of last year.
Regarding changes in crude oil prices, the February 2023 report also showed that the price of the commodity rose in January of this year compared to the month before, December 2022.
“The OPEC Reference Basket crude rose $1.94, or 2.4 per cent, m-o-m (month-on-month) in January to average $81.62/barrel. The ICE Brent front-month increased by $2.57, or 3.2 per cent, to average $83.91/barrel, and NYMEX WTI rose by $1.64, or 2.1 per cent, to average $78.16/barrel. The Brent/WTI futures spread widened m-o-m, rising by 93 cents to average $5.75/barrel,” the report stated.
It explained that crude spot prices rose in January, buoyed by an improved demand outlook after China lifted most COVID-19-related mobility restrictions and the country’s economy was expected to continue to reopen.
It stated that signs of firm demand in the crude spot market were boosted by the return of Chinese buyers and the expectation of further increasing crude demand after China’s Ministry of Commerce released a second batch of crude import quotas in 2023.
Industry operators told our correspondent that the progress being made in oil production should be sustained. They commended the Federal Government and its security agencies, but pointed out that Nigeria had yet to meet the oil output quota approved by OPEC.
The President, Petroleum Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, said, “We’ve been following developments as regards oil production and we must commend the government and security agencies for the work they are doing on this.
“However, there’s still a lot of work to do, because we have not met the production quota approved for us as a country by OPEC. So we have to work harder to meet this target in order to get the revenue from that too.”
Nigeria has been recording improvements in oil output since October last year and this is attributed to the increased security and surveillance of oil facilities in the Niger Delta, thereby reducing crude oil theft in the region.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), recently ordered security agencies to eradicate crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta before May 29, 2023.
He said the order became vital in order to effectively ramp up the country’s oil output, stressing that the Federal Government could no longer tolerate the criminality.
Buhari gave the directive through the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, while addressing troops of the Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe in Effurum, Delta State, and Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Sylva was quoted in a statement issued in Abuja by his media aide, Horatius Egua, as saying, “Mr. President has mandated us to eradicate crude oil theft. He has directed that no litre of crude oil should be stolen across the country again, especially in the South-South.
“He wants crude oil theft completely eliminated by May 29, 2023, as one of the legacies of his government. This is the message from Mr President. We are not where we want to be, but we are happy at what we are seeing.”
Before the Federal Government stepped up its efforts to combat the threat of crude oil thieves, the country produced roughly 900,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
But, as a result of recent advancements in security measures, oil production has increased, rising to around 1.5 million barrels per day, according to the statement.
Yet, the crude oil and condensates that make up this 1.5 mbpd output are pumped by oil and gas corporations in the Niger Delta.