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Libya Emerges Africa’s Highest Oil Producer As Nigeria’s Output Drops Again To 1.23mbpd

Libya has emerged as the highest crude oil producer in Africa following the drop of Nigeria’s output by 6.8 per cent to 1.23 million barrels per day in March 2024, from 1.32 bpd in February 2024.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stated on Thursday in its in its latest Monthly Oil Market Report for April 2024.

According to OPEC, while Nigeria’s output dropped by 6.8%, Libya’s oil output rose by 5.4 per cent to 1.236 million bpd in March 2024, from 1.173 million bpd in February 2024.

Based on secondary sources, OPEC stated that Nigeria retained its leadership position on the continent as it produced 1.398 million bpd while Libya produced 1.161 million bpd during the period.

However, OPEC stated: “According to secondary sources, total OPEC-12 crude oil production averaged 26.60 mb/d in March 2024.

“According to secondary sources, total OPEC-12 crude oil production averaged 26.60 mb/d in March 2024, 3 tb/d higher, m-o-m. Crude oil output increased mainly in IR Iran, Saudi Arabia, Gabon, and Kuwait, while production in Nigeria, Iraq, and Venezuela decreased.”

Nigeria’s first quarter oil output in 2024 was also higher than the 1.201mbpd average production in the third quarter of last year.

Oil theft and pipeline vandalism have dealt severe blows on Nigeria’s oil production, limiting the country’s output and making it fall below the volume approved for Nigeria by OPEC.

It was reported on Wednesday that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) recorded 155 oil theft incidents in one week.

The report that stated the company revealed that during the review period, 53 illegal pipeline connections and 36 illegal refineries were uncovered in the Niger Delta.

“Between March 30 and April 5, 2024, a total of 155 incidents were recorded across several locations in the Niger Delta region from various incident sources,” the firm stated.

In a summary of the incidents, NNPCL stated that it recorded 53 illegal connections, discovered 36 illegal refineries and 32 wooden fibre boats, identified 14 pipeline vandalism cases, eight vessel infractions and four oil spills, as well as made seven vehicle and one vessel arrests.

Some of the incident sources include the Nigeria Agip Oil Company, Tantita Security Services Ltd, NNPCL Command and Control Centre, Shell Petroleum Development Company, NNPCL 18 Operating Ltd, among others.

Providing additional details, the company said, “In the past week, 32 wooden boats conveying stolen crude and illegally refined products were seized and confiscated in Rivers and Delta states.

“On land, seven vehicles loaded with stolen crude were arrested in Imo, Delta and Rivers states. 53 illegal connections were uncovered between March 30 and April 5, 2024 in Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta states.

“14 cases of vandalism were also recorded in Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta states, while illegal storage sites where stolen crude and illegally refined products are kept were uncovered in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta states.”

The national oil company also stated there were clusters of illegal refineries in Abia State, as activities of oil thieves had devastated the effected environments in the state.

It said 36 clusters of the illegal refineries were discovered in the past week across several locations in Rivers and Abia states.

“Four cases of oil spills due to activities of vandals were recorded in the past week,” NNPCL stated, adding that in Rivers State, oil leaks from a wellhead is destroying aquatic lives.

NNPCL stated that 38 suspects were arrested during the week under review, stressing that the national oil company would not back down on the war against crude oil theft until the menace is eradicated.

Nigeria has been losing trillions of naira to crude oil theft, a development that has made some international oil companies to divest from onshore to deep offshore oil fields, while others have exited the country.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has expressed concerns over the capacity of the industry to meet its domestic crude obligations to local refineries, insisting that supply to local refineries remain a priority.

Speaking at a meeting to review Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation as contained under Section 109(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA 2021, the Chief Executive, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, insisted that priority must be given to crude supply to local refineries.

Komolafe pointed out that the overall objective of the government was to ensure that Nigeria became a net exporter of refined petroleum products.

“Producers should satisfy their domestic crude oil supply to the domestic refineries so that, as a nation, we seize the opportunity to reverse the ugly trend by ensuring that we develop our midstream and end up being a net exporter of petroleum products, especially now that we are trying to exit the subsidy regime. The only way to sustain that is to become robust in our domestic refining capacity.”

 MetroBusinessNews/a strategic cross-reporting initiative.

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