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Equatorial Guinea, a small West African country and OPEC’s smallest oil producer, did not export any crude oil in May due to output declines and no new projects to replace lost production, Petro-Logistics said on Thursday.
So last month, Equatorial Guinea’s crude oil exports hit zero, according to the crude flows tracking firm.
Source: Petro-Logistics on Twitter
Equatorial Guinea, like other West African producers, faces the common problem of declining production mingled with a lack of immediate new projects coming on, Petro-Logistics noted.
Equatorial Guinea, which became a member of OPEC in 2017, pumped an average 289,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude back in 2015.
By April this year, production had shrunk to 59,000 bpd, which was still up by 11,000 bpd compared to March, according to secondary sources in OPEC’s latest Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) from May. In the first quarter of 2023, Equatorial Guinea’s crude oil production averaged 54,000 bpd, down from 90,000 in the third quarter of 2022 and an average of 98,000 bpd for the full year 2021.
Back in 2021, the country with around 1.45 million residents received half of all its export revenue from petroleum export revenue, according to OPEC data.
ExxonMobil, currently the largest oil producer in the country, plans to stop pumping crude in Equatorial Guinea and exit the country after its license expires in 2026, Reuters reported at the end of 2022, citing sources close to the plans.
West Africa has been a problematic investment for oil majors, considering the higher costs compared to more lucrative projects elsewhere and the high emissions profile of the projects.
Other West African producers and OPEC members, such as Nigeria and Angola, have also been struggling with falling crude oil output amid high costs and a lack of investment from oil majors in recent years.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com