Between January and July 2022, Nigeria’s oil output fell by 28 million barrels, endangering the Federal Government’s N9.37tn oil and gas income target for the year.
The Federal Government blamed oil production shutdowns on pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, and high fuel subsidy costs in the 2023-2035 Medium Term Expenditure Framework & Fiscal Strategy Paper recently given by Dr Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.
Oil theft, according to industry analysts, has also contributed to the downturn, which appears to have eluded remedies.
Nigeria’s crude oil output fell from 1.399 million barrels per day in January 2022 to 1.084 million barrels per day in July.
By reducing from 1.399mbpd in January to 1.084mbpd in July, the country lost around 315,000 barrels of crude oil each day, totaling 28.4 million barrels of oil during the six-month period.
According to OPEC’s monthly oil production figures, Nigeria increased its output from 1.197 million barrels per day (bpd) in December 2021 to 1.399 million barrels per day (bpd) in January 2022.
However, this could not be continued, as the country’s oil output began to decline in February, falling to 1.258 million barrels per day (mbpd), before declining further in March to 1.238 million barrels per day (mbpd).
The drop persisted in April and May when the country produced 1.219mbpd and 1.024mbpd, respectively.
The country’s oil output increased somewhat in June, climbing to 1.158 million barrels per day, although this was a temporary increase, as it eventually dropped to 1.084mbpd in July this year.
OPEC explained that the crude oil production figures were based on direct communication. Data from the global oil group further showed how Nigeria’s quarterly oil production moved up from 1.26mbpd in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 1.299mbpd in the first quarter of this year.
But it dropped to 1.133mbpd in the second quarter of 2022, a development that operators in the sector and government officials repeatedly attributed to massive crude oil theft.
The Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Mele Kyari, stated on Friday that the NNPC was partnering with security agencies and other stakeholders to tackle the menace.
The NNPC boss also cautioned refineries outside Nigeria that patronised dealers of stolen crude oil, insisting that the commodity was not refined in Nigeria due to the non-functional refineries across the country.
“We are also creating a platform where end-users, particularly refiners and traders, can validate if the crude they are handling from Nigeria is from genuine sources and whenever they have a non-validated product, they have an obligation to report to the necessary authorities in the world,” Kyari stated.
He added, “If they don’t do this, then the culprits are international. That means they are part of the ring and whenever we discover this, we will take necessary actions against such culprits.
“And I’m sure our partners will cooperate with us to make sure that this is done.” This, according to Kyari, was because such massive oil theft could not succeed without international collaboration.
“It is impossible for any refinery to take crude oil that they don’t know its source. It is not possible,” he stated.
The NNPC helmsman added, “Refineries are designed to process a certain specific grade of crude. They know which crude they are processing. If it is from Nigeria, every refinery knows that it is from Nigeria.
“And it is their (refineries) duty to ensure that they validate this because we have a unique number for every cargo that leaves this country.”