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OPEC figures show that Nigeria is regaining its status as Africa’s top oil producer--a status that had been assumed by Angola for the seven months leading up to September as Nigeria bowed to Niger Delta militancy that took hundreds of thousands of barrels offline.
By November 2016, Nigeria managed to increase its oil production to nearly 1.8 million barrels per day according to OPEC direct communication figures.
Nigeria has experienced an approximately 700,000 barrel per day daily production decline because of militant attacks on the Nigerian oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta. With no new major attacks since mid-June 2016, production has risen to approximately 1.77 million barrels per day.
As indicated in secondary sources in the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR), in November, Nigeria and Angola produced 1.692 million barrels per day of oil each, while by primary sources, Nigeria produced 1.782 million barrels of oil per day against Angola's 1.688 million barrels per day. Based on this data, which is based on direct communication, Nigeria produced approximately 90,000 barrels per day more than Angola in November.
Further solidifying Nigeria’s top spot as Africa’s No.1 producer, the OPEC output agreement sealed at the end of 2016 calls for Angola to cut about 87,000 barrels per day of its production off a reference basket of 1.751, which would cap Angola to 1.673 million barrels per day for the next six months.
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Still, Nigeria still has a long way to go until it recovers to its full capacity, but if it can keep the militancy in check production should rise, thanks to its exemption from OPEC cuts due to the damage to its oil infrastructure caused by militancy.
Adding to the optimistic atmosphere, Kachikwu on Thursday announced the signing of a deal for repayment of US$5.1 billion in debt from joint venture projects with oil majors ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Eni and Chevron.
Kachikwu said that Nigeria's primary goals for 2017 would be to secure "lasting peace" in the Niger Delta, gain external funding for oil investments, and improve its oil refining system.
By Damir Kaletovic for Oilprice.com
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Damir Kaletovic is a veteran investigative journalist covering Europe and the Middle East, and a senior consultant for Divergente Research.