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While Nigeria has been struggling with restoring its crude oil production and exports that have been hit by militant attacks, rising U.S. crude oil exports have cut into the markets that Nigeria once held dear, such as China and Japan.
According to a crude destinations report by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for 2016, updated through November, Japan did not buy Nigerian crude last year at all, and China did not receive shipments from Nigeria after April.
According to Nigerian media, the U.S. was winning markets in Europe last year, including The Netherlands, the UK, and Italy, which are also export destinations for Nigerian crude. Nigeria may find it difficult to win new markets amid the glut in the oil market, Nigeria’s outlet The Guardian argues.
Last year, U.S. crude oil exports averaged 520,000 barrels per day, up by 55,000 bpd, or 12 percent, compared to 2015, the EIA said earlier this week.
Following the removal of restrictions on U.S. crude oil exports in December 2015, the U.S. exported crude oil to 26 different countries in 2016, compared with 10 countries the previous year. In 2015, 92 percent of U.S. crude oil exports went to Canada, which was exempt from the restrictions. After restrictions were lifted, Canada remained the top destination, but received only 58 percent of 2016 U.S. crude exports.
“Aside from Canada, European destinations such as the Netherlands, Italy, United Kingdom, and France rank high on the list of U.S. crude oil export destinations. The second-largest regional destination is Asia, including China, Korea, Singapore, and Japan,” the EIA said.
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However, this year with the start of the OPEC cuts, West African oil producers – led by Nigeria and Angola—were said to be loading to ship as many as 2.19 million bpd to Asia in February—the highest level in at least five and a half years, with China and India the largest buyers of African crude.
Nigeria’s crude exports are expected to rise to 1.66 million in May from 1.61 million bpd planned for shipping in April, according to a loading program compiled by Reuters.
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.