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The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA)—the militant group responsible for most of the attacks on Nigeria’s oil infrastructure in 2016—resurfaced days before the Nigerian presidential elections this weekend, saying that they are backing the opposition candidate and would attack oil facilities if incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari is re-elected.
“We are adopting Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as the sole candidate to be voted for by all the people of the Niger Delta as a result of his political ideology which is in tandem with our agitation for equitable and fair principal of federalism,” NDA spokesperson Mudoch Agbinibo said.
The NDA have been demanding that a higher share of the oil revenues from the Delta be shared among the local impoverished communities.
The ‘avengers’ also had a warning to their preferred candidate Abubakar—if elected, to start restructuring in Nigeria “within six (6) months to forestall further agitation from the Niger Delta.”
Nigeria’s opposition presidential candidate Abubakar promises to boost Nigerian upstream oil and gas production and downstream production by attracting more investments, if he is elected president in this weekend’s elections.
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Abubakar, presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), is running against Buhari, under whose watch Nigeria’s economy suffered from the low oil prices that reduced export revenues. Nigeria’s oil industry also suffered from vandalism and militant attacks on oil infrastructure in most of 2016 and early 2017, for most of which the NDA claimed responsibility.
The militants have been silent for just over a year, after they threatened in January 2018 to attack oil infrastructure in Nigeria “in a few days time.” Those threats never materialized, and Nigeria was able to lift its production to the point of being included in the new round of OPEC cuts that began last month.
In the previous OPEC/non-OPEC production cut agreement in 2017, Nigeria was exempted due to the militant violence, most of which coming from NDA, that had crippled its production to a 30-year low in 2016—to 1.1 million bpd. According to OPEC’s secondary sources, Nigeria’s crude oil production rose by 52,000 bpd from December 2018 to 1.792 million bpd in January 2019, due to the start-up of Total’s ultra-deepwater oil field Egina.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.