War against oil-theft yielding results, as Nigeria’s oil production rises to 1.35m bpd


OPEC and its oil-producing allies are meeting on Wednesday to discuss production targets after a drop in oil prices [File: Ramzi Boudina/Reuters]

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Report has it that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) crude output boosted in December 2022 as Nigeria partly reversed a long-term decline in output as its military (naval) war against oil theft in the country yields good results.

According to a Bloomberg survey, OPEC increased production by 150,000 barrels per day, almost all of which came from Nigeria. OPEC production totalled 29.14 million barrels per day, the report said.

But even if the December increase lifted Nigeria’s production to 1.35 million barrels per day from about 900,000 barrels per day two months earlier, the country’s output is still only half of what it was a decade ago.

Although the official data from OPEC and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) had not been released as of yesterday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) had put its production in the early part of December at 1.59 million barrels per day while the NUPRC said it was 1.4 million barrels per day.

For over a year, Nigeria has been unable to meet its OPEC allocation, falling far below the roughly 1.8 million barrels per day quota and losing as much as 700,000 barrels per day to sabotage and shut-ins.

The Nigerian government has recently taken a rash of decisions to tackle the embarrassing situation , hiring local security groups as pipelines surveillance contractors.

In addition, the NNPC has announced that it can now monitor Nigeria’s oil infrastructure in real time with its new automated platform and has inaugurated a whistle-blowers scheme which rewards persons who report the activities of suspected oil thieves.

The report stated that other OPEC producers are sticking to curbs agreed late last year to keep supply and demand in the global market in balance.

Oil supplies from key member countries Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iraq were largely unchanged, with Saudi output at 10.48 million barrels per day, it said.

Crude supplies from OPEC+ are expected to come under pressure after further European Union (EU) sanctions on Russia took effect last month. A group of ministers from member states will meet on February 1, to review output policy.

The National Assembly recently passed a N21.83 trillion budget, pegging Nigeria’s crude oil benchmark at $75 per barrel from the previous $70 per barrel while production for 2023 was put at 1.69 million barrels per day. President signed the appropriation bill into on Tuesday January 3, 2023.

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