Apprehension as Nigeria’s Oil Production Hits Seven-month Low

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

After a period of seeming respite, Nigeria’s crude oil production fell to a seven-month low of 998,602 barrels per day in April, a blow to recent gains made from the renewed efforts by the federal government to tackle oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.

The information was gathered from data obtained from the industry regulator, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), yesterday.

The depleted production figure for last month was partly connected with the shutting down of oil platforms and declaration of force majeure by Exxon Mobil in Nigeria mid last month, especially at the Qua Iboe asset.

 The decision to declare force majeure followed an industrial action by the company’s in-house workers’ union, the company had stated in a statement in April.

However, about 10 days later, the company resumed operations at its facilities after resolving the labour dispute over pay and conditions with the union.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) had said in a statement it helped to end the labour dispute after a pay adjustment acceptable to the union and Exxon was agreed.

NNPC, which runs joint ventures with oil majors, including Exxon, had said the dispute was “effectively constraining 300,000 barrels of oil production daily”.

In addition, the prolonged business disagreement between the NNPC and Neconde, an indigenous operator in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, on the mode of crude transportation to be adopted, may have led to  the shutting in of about 30,000 bpd.

But the NUPRC data revealed that the last time Nigeria had production less than one million was in August last year, when it produced 972,394 barrels per day.

It thereafter followed up with another low production figure in September, drilling 937,766 bpd before the concerted effort by the federal government and its security agencies as well as the NNPC and local security groups, to raise production began to bear fruits in October when output was 1.014 million barrels per day.

In November it was 1.18 million bpd; in December it shot up to 1.23 million bpd while in January this year it further increased to 1.25 million bpd.

In February and March, production was 1.3 million bpd and 1.268 million bpd respectively before falling to less than 1 million barrels again in April this year in the latest assessment by the industry regulator.

The data further showed that Qua Iboe was massively impacted by the strike, to slump from 4.2 million barrels in March to 1.9 million barrels in April. In Bonny terminal, production also fell from 3.2 million barrels total production in March to 2.2 million barrels in April.

Forcados witnessed a fall from 5.7 million in March 2023 to 4.8 million last month, while Escravos reduced from 4.3 million barrels to 3.8 million barrels.

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