Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC’s)
By Chika Amanze-Nwachuku with agency report
The 12-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC’s) oil production is expected to rise in August to its highest since 2008 due to higher oil exports from Nigeria and smaller increases from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers.
A Reuters survey of sources at oil companies, OPEC officials and analysts released yesterday revealed that supply from the organisation was expected to average 30.15 million barrels per day (mbpd) this month, up from 30.07 mbpd in July.
The Federal Government affirmed recently that Nigeria had reclaimed her foremost position as Africa’s largest oil exporter, which she lost to Angola in the wake of unrests in the Niger Delta region and which reduced oil production to an all time low of 1.2 million bpd from the about 2.6mbpd in 2006.
Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity, Mr. Reuben Abati, was quoted to have said that Nigeria currently produces 2.4 mbpd of oil, courtesy of Federal Government’s amnesty programme, which brought about normalcy in the oil-rich region.
Abati said the 20 per cent increase in oil production had made Nigeria to again retain her position “as Africa’s largest oil exporter, surging ahead of Angola after the insurgency in the country’s militant Niger Delta was quelled.”
However, the Reuters survey indicated no sign yet that Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s kingpin, and other Gulf countries were cutting back on the extra supplies they provided to help cover the loss of Libyan output. OPEC's Gulf members boosted supplies unilaterally after African countries, Iran and Venezuela blocked a Saudi-led proposal to increase output targets at OPEC's last meeting, which was held on June 8, Reuters reported. The survey also revealed that output was expected to decline this month in some countries, including Angola, Iran, Libya and Iraq, the survey found.
OPEC’s Annual Statistical Bulletin released recently ranked Nigeria above Iran as second largest oil exporter in 2010 due to the stability in the Niger Delta region, though Iran's oil Minister has disputed the report saying it was not true.
The report said Nigeria surpassed Iran, second-largest exporter in 2010, as security improved in the Niger Delta and as Iran used more crude at home.
Nigeria shipped 2.464 million barrels a day last year, followed by Iran with 2.248 million barrels, according to OPEC's Annual Statistical Bulletin published on its website. The report added that Iran's refining capacity rose by 18 per cent last year, the biggest gain among OPEC's 12 members.
OPEC had left its members' production quotas unchanged since December 2008, when it announced the last of a series of cuts aimed at bringing member countries output down by 4.2 million barrels per day. The cuts helped engineer a rebound in crude prices, which had dropped to $30 from a mid-2008 high of almost $150 per barrel.