Nigeria’s revenues from crude has sunk by N58.5 billion ($292.5million) in 13 days buoyed loss of 6.5 million barrels to production shut down in May. Checks by Saturday Telegraph showed that Shell alone accounts for about 250,000 barrels a day from the total loss, which perpetuated Nigeria’s loss of Africa’s biggest oil producer’s status to Angola.
The production loss, data of the ministry of petroleum resources obtained by Saturday Telegraph showed, has accumulated to 6.5 million barrels in May alone (May 1 and May 13). This, the data revealed followed attacks and mechanical leakages on oil installations and facilities in the country, the latest of which was the damage to a pipeline operated by Exxon Mobil at the weekend, reducing supplies of Nigeria’s benchmark Qua Iboe crude oil.
The country was set to export 317,000 bpd of Qua Iboe in June. The news comes as Nigeria’s production slumped to a 22-year low after Royal Dutch Shell PLC declared a force majeure on Bonny Light crude due to sabotage on a pipeline.
“This is the latest setback for Africa’s second top producer that has pushed output to its lowest in more than two decades,” traders said. Operator Exxon Mobil Corp confirmed in an email that a drilling rig, experiencing mechanical difficulties, damaged the pipeline it jointly owns with the stateowned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and caused a spill on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s oil production output has remained at 20-year lows and slipped behind Angola as the continent’s top oil producer. The attacks are the result of a resurgent militancy in Nigeria’s oil rich Niger-Delta region where a new group, called the Niger Delta Avengers, have taken up arms, attacking pipelines and major installations.
In February, Royal Dutch Shell stopped oil shipments after an attack on a key pipeline which supplies a terminal with an export output of about 250,000 barrels a day. Shell has also been forced to evacuate a major oil field after militants issued threats of an attack.
Another oil company, Chevron, shut down a facility costing the country around 90,000 barrels daily after it was “breached by unknown persons”. The attacks have also hit pipelines supplying local refineries and electricity gas lines in the country.
The Niger Delta Avengers group says its goal is to “cripple the Nigeria economy” unless the government accedes to the continuation of an amnesty programme for militants in the region.
Another demand of the group was the immediate clean up of Ogoniland. Exxon said Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), however said that it will continue to assess the situation that lead to mechanical difficulties being experienced by a drilling rig on its installation.
It did not give any other details and it was not clear how much output was lost. The drilling rig is owned by Depthwize Nigeria Limited and Drilling on behalf of Conoil Producing.
The news intensified concerns among traders and refiners about falling supplies of Nigeria’s largest grade of crude and helped boost global Brent benchmark futures on Thursday even as the market remains awash with supplies.