Nigeria pumped additional 31.1 million barrels of crude oil within a space of four months following improvements in security in the country’s oil-producing Niger Delta region, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries has said.
Latest data from the organisation’s Monthly Oil Market Report for February 2022, obtained in Abuja on Thursday, showed that the average crude oil output from Nigeria in the third quarter of 2022 was 0.999 million barrels per day, according to figures accessed by OPEC based on direct communication.
This, however, increased to an average of 1.258mbpd in January 2023, indicating an estimated daily rise of 259,000 barrels, and 7.77 million barrels in a month (30 days).
This, therefore, implies that the country pumped an additional 31.1 million barrels of crude within the four-month period of October, November, December and January.
Further analysis of OPEC’s data indicated that while the average output in the third quarter of last year was 0.999mbpd, the country produced an average of 1.186mbpd in November 2022, 1.235mbpd in December 2022 and 1.258mbpd in January 2023.
On crude oil price movements, the February 2023 report also revealed that there was an increase in the cost of the commodity in January this year, when compared to the preceding month of 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.