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Nigerian Protests Haven’t Disrupted Oil Industry Yet

Nigeria’s oil production and exports have not been disrupted by the escalating protests against police brutality in the biggest oil producer and exporter in Africa, according to shipping data and traders who spoke to Bloomberg.

For two weeks now, Nigerians have been protesting against the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit, calling for the authorities to disband it. Rights group say that the Nigerian army and police shot dead at least 12 peaceful protesters in Lagos this week.

The escalating tension in Africa’s top oil producer drew reaction from the U.S. State Department, with Secretary Mike Pompeo saying on Thursday that “The United States strongly condemns the use of excessive force by military forces who fired on unarmed demonstrators in Lagos, causing death and injury.”

The situation in Nigeria hasn’t spilled to its vital oil sector, which accounts for around 10 percent of GDP, while petroleum export revenue accounts for 86 percent of the country’s total revenue from exports. 

The oil workers’ unions in Nigeria have expressed solidarity with the protesters, but they haven’t gone on a strike, which could disrupt oil production or exports.

But militant groups in the oil-producing Niger Delta, Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA), threatened this week to breach the ceasefire and resume hostilities if the Nigerian federal government doesn’t meet the demand of the protesters.

Nigeria’s crude oil exports are expected at around 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in November and December, Fotios Katsoulas, Liquid Bulk Principal Analyst, Maritime & Trade, at IHS Markit, said on Friday.

Currently, 44 tankers are carrying a combined total of 45 million barrels of Nigerian crude oil on water, with the majority of them en route to Europe—mostly Spain and France, and India. Most interestingly, four million barrels of Nigerian crude oil are currently heading to the United States, IHS Markit’s Katsoulas said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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