Nigeria’s crude oil output increased by about 403,900 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.940 million bpd in December 2016, above November levels of 1.536 million bpd, according to the current figures released by Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Compared to third quarter 2016, 1.2 million bpd output, the boost in production is attributed to Federal Government’s overtures to militant groups in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, to pave the way for a comprehensive dialogue with a view to resolving all the issues.
Due to the vandals and militants activities Nigeria’s crude oil output dropped to as low as 900,000 bpd in early 2016, a far cry from the 2.2 million barrels benchmarked in the budget.
Despite the December uplift, the country is having a shortfall of 260,000 barrels daily, which will challenge the full execution of the 2017 National Budget, also pegged at 2.2mbpd.
OPEC said in the report released on Wednesday, that crude oil production in December decreased by 2.21 million bpd from the previous month to average 33.08 mbpd.
According to OPEC, which supplies about 40 percent of the world oil, output increased the most in Iraq, Angola and Libya, while production in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela showed the largest decline.
Speaking on efforts the country is making to increase oil output, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, in his 2017 projection for the industry hoped that Nigeria would achieve 2.1 million barrels per this month.
Kachikwu noted that the vandalism of the Forcados export pipeline negatively impacted on the country’s oil output, adding that the issue was currently being addressed.
He said: “In terms of crude oil output, we are still not where we should be. These days, I am always conscious about giving figures so that I do not attract attention unnecessarily. “Obviously, the Forcados incident did impact us. My guess is that we are moving closer to 1.9 million barrels per day at this point. We are still managing the issue.”
The Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf stressed the need for the country to increase output.
To achieve this, Yusuf said the country must tackle the problem of the Niger Delta, which is a critical to maximising inherent opportunities.
“Remember, we were exempted from the OPEC quota thing, so we should take full advantage of that by increasing our output. We cannot increase output unless we deal with Niger Delta issue. So that is why we have to tackle this issue of Niger Delta. We need to come up with clear ways of dealing with the problem,” he said.