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“Complete and Utter Disaster” Nigeria Could See Oil Production Plunge

Nigeria’s independent oil producers are being crushed by the oil price crash, with current prices more than two times lower than the costs of local independents' production. 

These small independent oil companies pump a fifth of the oil in Africa’s largest oil producer.

“The impact is a complete and utter disaster,” Kola Karim, CEO at Nigeria’s third-largest independent oil firm, Shoreline Group, told Bloomberg in an interview published on Friday.  

The independent companies in Nigeria are struggling to stay afloat at benchmark Brent Crude in the $20s, which means Nigeria’s barrels are sold in the teens. And that's if there is buying interest at all amid the growing global glut and crashing demand.  

Independent firms produce around 400,000 bpd out of the 2 million bpd that OPEC member Nigeria pumps. But independents need oil prices at $35 to $40 per barrel to cover their cost of production, compared to the average $22 a barrel price the international oil majors operating in the country need to cover those costs, according to Bloomberg.

Top executives at several independent Nigerian oil firms told Bloomberg that some companies are drowning in debt at the current oil prices. Others have frozen their production expansion plans.

Local banks that have extended credit lines to Nigerian independents may also struggle as the oil firms may be unable to repay their debts, according to analysts.

The price crash is affecting more than independent producers in Nigeria. The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) warned this week that some production could be suspended given the depressed demand and oil prices.

“We can’t keep producing if there is no market to sell to,” Kennie Obateru, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Department at NNPC, told Punch.

Nigeria, as an economy, is also suffering from the oil price collapse, considering that, according to Fitch Ratings, the country’s break-even price required to balance the government budget is $144 a barrel Brent Crude.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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