The volume of Nigerian crude oil bought by the United States dropped by 11.83 per cent in the third quarter of this year to 6.11 million barrels, the latest data from the US Energy Information Administration have shown.
The US imported a total of 6.93 million barrels of Nigerian crude in Q2, up from 5.53 million barrels in the first three months of the year, according to the EIA data.
The Northern American country has significantly reduced imports of Nigerian crude oil in the past few years as the oil produced in its shale operations is similar to the light sweet Nigerian crude.
Following the coronavirus-induced crash in oil prices and demand, Nigeria has been struggling to sell its crude oil cargoes.
Prior to the lockdowns and collapse in crude oil demand caused by coronavirus crisis, the rise of US shale oil was already proving uniquely challenging for Nigeria.
Oil and gas account for about 50 per cent of the Nigerian government revenues and over 90 per cent of export earnings but account for only about 10 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Nigeria more than doubled its crude oil exports in Q3 to N2.42tn after months of struggling to find buyers amid the collapse in demand.
Crude oil exports grew in value by 56 per cent in the period under review, compared to Q2 but decreased in value by 35.3 per cent year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The NBS data also showed that America imported N111.16bn worth of Nigerian crude in Q3; Europe, N1.03tn; Asia, N910.58bn; Africa, N343.46bn; and Oceania, N29.82bn.
In 2014, when global oil prices started to fall from a peak of $115 per barrel, Nigeria saw a further drop in US imports of its crude to 21.24 million barrels from 148.48 million barrels in 2012 and 87.40 million barrels in 2013.
In 2010, the US bought as much as 358.92 million barrels from Nigeria, but slashed its imports to 280.08 million barrels in 2011.