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Despite a respite in attacks on its oil infrastructure, Nigeria’s crude oil exports in April will drop to 1.54 million bpd from 1.65 million bpd expected to be shipped in March, loading programs compiled by Reuters showed on Tuesday.
The biggest monthly decline in planned exports is expected at the Qua Iboe oil stream, Nigeria’s largest. Exports for April loading are set at 222,000 bpd, compared to 337,000 bpd for March, with March loadings revised up after delays had postponed some loadings previously planned for February.
According to Reuters, field operator ExxonMobil has adjusted the loading programs at Qua Iboe several times so far this year, although the reasons for the revisions have not been immediately known.
Exxon has had to cope with closure of the main pipeline toward the export terminal, as well as with strikes and a workers’ standoff in December when it had to shut its Nigerian headquarters after oil workers’ unions barricaded the office to protest the sacking of local staff.
In April, Nigeria will export more Bonny Light, Escravos, Owkwori and Usan oil, but compared to March, fewer cargoes are set for Agbami, Amenam, Brass River and Erha, despite Italy’s Eni SpA lifting the force majeure on Brass River earlier this month.
Forcados still remains under force majeure and is now the only Nigerian grade not exporting because of reasons other than field maintenance.
Related: Oil Prices Crumble As OPEC Ups Output And Exports
Nigerian officials have recently been giving diverging figures on how much oil the country – exempt from the OPEC production cut deal due to the militant violence - is currently pumping.
Maikanti Baru, group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said today that crude production had steadily increased to 2.1 million bpd “due to some strategic dialogue efforts” in the Niger Delta.
Nigeria hopes to increase output to above 2.2 million bpd by the end of 2017, he added.
Last week, Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun said that output was 2.2 million bpd. OPEC’s latest available secondary sources figures put Nigeria’s January output at 1.576 million bpd, up by 101,800 bpd from December.
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.