Nigeria’s October Oil Production Increases Marginally, Hits 1.014m bpd

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

Nigeria struggled to exceed the 1 million barrels per day oil production mark in October, a ‘feat’ it hadn’t achieved in the last two months.

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) data obtained by THISDAY indicated that Nigeria drilled 1.014 million barrels per day for the month under review, exceeding production for August which was 972,394 bpd and September’s pegged at 937,766 bpd.

In all, the country produced 31.449 million barrels of oil in October as opposed to 28.132 million in September and 30.144 million barrels in August.

The month also saw the production of 6.692 million barrels volume of condensate, raising total production to 38.1 million barrels for last month.

Bonny appeared to have resumed production, rising from 167,582 barrels in September to 1.616 million barrels for the month. Brass also rose from 172,814 barrels to 358,671 barrels in the month of October.

Qua Iboe continued to hold forth with 4.984 million barrels as against 4.97 million in September, while Forcados increased output massively from 134,437 barrels to 2.519 million barrels for the month.

Excravos produced 4.532 million barrels in contrast to 3.272 million it produced in the previous period.

The total of crude oil, blended condensate as well as unblended condensate was 1.23 million barrels per day during the month under review.

The output was however not enough to give respite to the significantly oil-dependent Nigerian economy as crude production was still a far cry from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) allocation of 1.826 million bpd for October.

In the last few months, Nigeria has been producing oil at record low quantity, losing as much as 800,000 bpd in the last few months.

The information is coming weeks after THISDAY reported that Nigeria lost as much as $800 million in earnings that could have accrued to the federation to facilities’ shut-ins and equipment failures in August and even more in September.

Nigeria is dealing with unprecedented oil theft under the Muhammadu Buhari administration, hobbling the country’s ability to meet its OPEC quota in the last one year.

At the August Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), the last that was publicly made available by NNPC, the national oil company indicated that as much as 8.14 million barrels of crude oil were lost during the month.

The small rise in production comes despite months of assurances of planned improvement by the Nigerian authorities, with steady deterioration in the country’s production figures for months.

The figures indicated that in June the country’s production was 1.158 million bpd; it was 1.024 million bpd in May; 1.219 million bpd in April, 1.237 million bpd in March; 1.257 million bpd in February and 1.398 million bpd in January.

The quota allocated to Nigeria by OPEC for the month of August was 1.826 million barrels per day while in September it increased to 1.830 million per day, meaning that Nigeria under-produced to the tune of about almost 900,000 bpd in September and over 800,000 bpd in October.

This implies that Nigeria was only able to produce roughly half of its entire production quota despite a recent rash of measures to curtail the oil theft menace, which so far appears to have defied all solutions.

A few of the measures include the renewed deployment of security personnel in the Niger Delta and the real-time monitoring of activities around the pipelines by the NNPC.

In addition, the national oil firm has introduced the whistle-blower strategy as well as the handing over of a N4 billion monthly surveillance contract to ex-militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.

The federal government has variously blamed massive oil theft, vandalism of major assets, dilapidated infrastructure as well as declining upstream investment for its inability to drill more of the commodity.

The Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, had recently called for the setting up of a special court to try persons found to have been complicit in the vandalism of Nigeria’s oil infrastructure.

The GCEO sought the High Court’s support towards the creation of a special court/tribunal to ensure speedy trial of crude oil thieves and pipeline vandals, the national oil firm stated.

 Kyari, who described the actions as a serious threat to Nigeria’s oil production, revenue generation and by extension energy security, observed that a special court to execute such cases will deter would-be criminals and assure investors of value for their investments.

However, almost all the agencies involved in protecting Nigeria’s commonwealth have admitted to complicity in oil theft and general sabotage, including the national oil company, host communities as well as the national oil company.

Months ago, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), threatened that oil workers will withdraw their services should the government fail to take decisive action against oil thieves.

Due to a combination of falling production and the controversial subsidy regime, the NNPC has been unable to contribute a kobo to the federation account since this year, thereby crippling most dollar-related transactions in the Nigerian economy.

The scarcity of the greenback has also impacted negatively on the value of the naira, with the local currency falling to as low as N900 to a dollar at some point in the parallel market this November.

In the last few weeks, the NNPC in collaboration with government security personnel as well as local outfits have uncovered tens of spots where Nigeria’s oil is tapped illegally and transported to the high sea in the Niger Delta.

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