Nigeria has discovered crude oil in the northeastern state of Borno - where the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram had started its insurgency back in 2009.
The announcement of the discovery was made by the permanent secretary of Nigeria’s petroleum ministry, Jamila Shua’ra, at an event on Thursday, Nigerian media reports.
The Nigerian official did not elaborate either on the exact location of the discovery or whether it is of commercially-viable quantities. If oil is in commercial quantities, it could bring some recovery to the local economy after it was ruined by Boko Haram, who launched their terror acts in the capital of the Borno state, Maiduguri, seven years ago.
In December 2015, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said the extremist group – which had pledged allegiance to ISIS - was “technically defeated” and driven out into a tiny northeastern corner of the country. However, the terrorist group is still launching attacks and was blamed for last week’s suicide blast that killed at least 30 people.
Apart from Boko Haram, Nigeria is dealing with militant attacks in the oil-rich Niger Delta that have crippled the country’s vital oil industry since the beginning of this year. Nigeria was one of two countries – alongside Libya – that were exempt from OPEC’s collective output cut due to the militant violence on oil infrastructure.
Related: The Oil Mystery Behind Saudi Arabia’s Production Cut
Earlier this week, President Buhari said he was eyeing an increase to his country’s oil production to 2.2 million bpd, the volume it had pumped before militant violence in the Niger Delta started.
At the beginning of 2016, Nigeria’s oil production was some 2.1 million bpd, but scores of militant attacks on oil infrastructure in the delta has dragged down production, which was around 1.5 million bpd in August.
Currently, Nigeria produces around 1.8 million barrels of oil daily, up from an average 1.63 million bpd in the third quarter of the year, Oil Minister Emmanuel Kachikwu said this week, noting that the top priorities of the government for 2017 were to achieve “lasting peace” in the oil-rich region and improve Nigeria’s oil refining infrastructure.
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.