Nigeria has managed to increase its daily crude oil production to 1.9 million barrels, according to a tweet from the Petroleum Ministry. That’s still short of the country’s 2.2-million-bpd output before the militant attacks on oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta began a couple of years ago, but it is substantially better than the 1.3 million bpd Nigeria produced in the spring of 2016.
But the 1.9 million barrels per day level may be unsustainable in the inhospitable environment of the Niger Delta, with a fresh wave of attacks announced on Tuesday at the hands of the most active militant group in the area, the Niger Delta Avengers, or NDA.
Although the federal government of Nigeria has been in negotiations with the NDA to find ways to appease its members and restore oil production to more lucrative levels, the talks have had mixed results did not include other militant groups in the area.
The latest attack by the NDA, which was announced by the group’s spokesman Mudic Agbinib, targeted Chevron’s offshore export pipeline at Escravos.
“This action is to further warn all IOCs’ that when we warn that there should be no repairs pending negotiation/dialogue with the people of the Niger Delta, it means there should be no repairs,” an NDA statement read, adding “Any attempt to use dialogue to distract us so as to allow the free flow of our oil will halt the dialogue process.”
Meanwhile, the Forcados export terminal, operated by Shell, has been closed since February after a militant attack that resulted in losses of US$2.18 billion (689 billion naira) in oil revenues.
Another major piece of oil infrastructure, the Qua Iboe pipeline operated by Exxon, is no longer under force majeure, which is certainly good news as Qua Iboe is Nigeria’s most popular export blend of crude.
Pressed for money and fighting a deepening recession as a result of the combination between militant attacks and low oil prices, Nigeria is looking for ways to prop up its finances.
Earlier this month, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said that the Egina offshore field could add 200,000 bpd to overall production as soon as March 2018. Egina is operated by French Total, China’s CNOOC, and Petrobras Sapetro.
Due to its loss of market share as a result of militant attacks, Nigeria has been exempt from the output freeze OPEC is currently negotiating, along with Libya and Iran.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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