In OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report for April 2022, the organisation outlined the oil production volumes of its member nations and allies, as it revealed that the output from Nigeria dropped in March.
An analysis of the document by our correspondent showed that Nigeria’s oil production dropped from the 1.378 million barrels per day recorded in February 2021 to 1.354 million barrels per day in March, indicating a daily plunge of 24,000 barrels of crude oil.
This implies that for the 31 days in March, the country’s oil production dropped by a total of 744,000 barrels, despite the current financial crisis confronting the Nigerian economy.
It was observed that while the country produced 1.413 million barrels of crude oil daily in January, this dropped to 1.378 million barrels per day in February and plunged further to 1.354 million barrels per day in March.Further analysis of the report showed that the country’s oil production had been falling since January this year.
The situation confirmed concerns by both government officials and International Oil Companies operating in Nigeria that crude oil production in the country had been on the decline since 2021.
This, they said, was due to the massive oil theft that had bedeviled the sector since January 2021 till date, though they noted that efforts were ongoing to address the issue.
On March 24, 2022, for instance, The PUNCH reported that the total value of Nigeria’s crude oil stolen between January 2021 and February 2022 was about $3.27bn (representing N1.361tn at the official exchange rate of N416.25 to the dollar), according figures from the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission.
International oil companies and their counterparts in Nigeria also stated recently that the massive oil theft across the country posed a threat to not just their existence, but to the Nigerian economy.
But the NNPC’s Group Managing Direction, Mele Kyari, had announced recently that measurable outcomes against the massive crude oil theft in the Niger Delta would be visible in three weeks’ time.
Kyari had said, “As we speak now there is a massive disruption to our operations as a result of the activities of vandals and criminals along our pipelines in the Niger Delta area.
“This has brought down our production to levels as low as we have never seen before. Today we are doing less than 1.5 million barrels per day simply because some criminals have decided that they should have some infractions on our pipelines.”
Nigeria’s oil production quota by OPEC has revolved around 1.8 million barrels per day. The country has repeatedly missed this target due to oil theft.
“And that clearly is the biggest form of business disruption that we are facing today,” the NNPC boss had stated.
He added, “This kind of engagement, the certifications that we have today around our systems and processes should be able to respond to this. And part of the response is to bring in the best framework possible to contain this situation.
“I’m happy to tell us that enormous work is going on between us and the Federal Government recognized security agencies, our partners, particularly those on the corridors that are impacted and also the community members.
“And I’m very optimistic that within the next two to three weeks some very measurable outcomes will come so that our businesses will continue. As we speak now, the Nigerian Navy is launching a massive operation to contain oil theft in the Niger Delta.”