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Nigeria Launches New Crude Grade To Compete In Europe

NNPC Ltd, Nigeria’s state-controlled oil company, has launched a new low-sulfur crude grade, called Nembe, which it plans to sell primarily on the European market, an NNPC executive told Reuters on Tuesday.

The Nembe crude grade is similar to other very popular blends of Africa’s largest oil producer, such as Forcados, Egina, and Bonga, the executive director of crude and condensate at NNPC Trading, Maryamu Idris, told the Argus European Crude Conference in London.  

Nembe could compete with crudes from Brazil and Azerbaijan on the European market, NNPC’s Idris told Reuters.

OPEC producer Nigeria has already sold cargoes of the new grade. In October, NNPC sold two cargoes of 950,000 barrels each to France and the Netherlands, a source with the Nigerian oil firm told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference.

Nigeria is currently producing around 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) of the new Nembe grade. It looks to ramp up Nembe production to 80,000 bpd by the first quarter of 2024, and to 150,000 bpd by early 2025, according to the Reuters source. 

Nigeria has consistently failed to produce to its quota in the OPEC+ agreement. The combination of pipeline vandalism and oil theft with a lack of investment in capacity has made Nigeria the biggest laggard in crude oil production in the OPEC+ alliance.

Currently, Nigeria’s oil production is around 1 million bpd below its capacity. The government has cited a lack of investments, a shortage of funding sources because of the energy transition, and insecurity among the factors driving the situation.  

Nigeria aims to significantly increase its oil production to up to 1.7 million bpd by November 2023, hoping to win a higher quota in the OPEC+ agreement, Gabriel Tanimu Aduda, Permanent Secretary at Nigeria’s Ministry of Petroleum Resources, told Energy Intelligence in July.

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Nigeria’s quota was 1.742 million bpd earlier this year, but due to its underproduction of more than 400,000 bpd, the output cap for Nigeria was lowered to 1.38 million bpd at the OPEC+ meeting in early June.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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