Nigeria’s crude oil export to the global markets averaged 1.9 million barrels per day (mbd) June and 1.91 mbd in the first half of the year, maintaining a trend of fluctuation that shadows rate of production losses associated with pipeline vandalism. According to output data of members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) compiled by the Platts energy market intelligence group, the tradition of fluctuation which sustains supply concerns in the market also ruled the production trend among members of the group.
According to Platts, Nigeria pumped crude oil at 1.90 mbd in June, adding 20, 000 barrels per day (bpd) to the 1.88 mbd posted by the country previous May. The production figures for May cascaded by the same rate from 1.90 mbd pumped by the country in April. The 1.90 mbd recorded for Nigeria in OPEC’s production table in April level was a recovery from a deep plunge in preceding March when production from Africa’s biggest producer levelled at 1.86 mbd.
Nigeria had earlier posted 1.92 mbd in February to mark the beginning of further descent from the threshold of the 2.0 mbd mark after opening the year with an upbeat production performance of 1.98 mbd. According to the table, Nigeria’s crude production closed out 2014 at monthly production rate of 1.93 mbd as pipeline vandalism associated crude oil stealing rose dramatically on the run up to 2015 general elections.
According to data released by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), 3732 cases of pipeline vandalism resulted in the loss of N59.597 billion worth of crude oil and refined products in. The lost commodity included crude oil, condensate, natural gas and refined petroleum products which were either stolen or allowed to spill after deliberate pipeline vandalism by the thieves. However, some 32 cases of pipeline breaks resulted from operations mishaps while 3700 cases resulted from deliberate vandalism by saboteurs targeting to steal crude oil and petroleum products for personal gains.
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) stated in its Annual Statistical Bulletin for 2014 that 1.08 million barrels of crude oil valued at about N14.847 billion was lost to vandalism in following a 4.54 per cent rise in such incidents from 2013 level. In providing breakdown of the figures, NNPC also said that the country lost 17,964 barrels of Bonny Light valued at N264.37 million, while 586,776 barrels of Escravos Light valued at N8.636 billion was lost to pipeline vandalism in the period under review.
In addition, the activities of the pipeline vandals led to the loss of 341,566 barrels of Ughelli Blend valued at N5.027 billion while 62,499 barrels of Seplat blend valued at N919 million was lost in 2014. The rising wave of vandalism, according to NNPC, impacted the industry’s upstream production performance in the year, saying the country recorded crude oil and condensate production of 798.542 million barrels in 2014, 0.24 percent less from its production in 2013, OPEC Crude Output In February (Million b/d) representing an average crude oil output of 2.19 million barrels per day. In the gas sector, the NNPC noted that 28 companies produced 2.524 trillion Standard Cubic Feet, SCF, of natural gas in 2014, an increase of 8.56 per cent when compared with 2013 production.
The UNION reports that OPEC production tables carries lower figures than, hardly corresponds with, the production figures posted by government’s industry and financial regulators as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Whereas the CBN, NNPC and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) account for all hydrocarbon liquids including crude oil, condensate and sundry natural gas liquids used in blending the nation’s crude grades in the export market, OPEC’s output regulation of its members is limited to only crude oil.
In calculating the country’s production performance in line with OPEC restriction guidelines, Ministry of Petroleum Resources advances strictly crude oil volumes even though Nigeria remains one of the biggest producers of condensates and NGLs used to lighten up the country’s crude oil to premium grades in the export market.
Thus, the sharp difference in the figures declared by government and OPEC respectively clearly explains the proportion of non-crude hydrocarbon liquids pumped from the country’s producing fields. Meanwhile Nigeria maintains median position among the 12 member OPEC producers despite sliding to the seventh position following the return of Iraq as key supply factor in the group. Leas OPEC producer and global oil factor remains Saudi Arabia whose 10.35 mbd in the month offsets collective production capacity of eight small producers in the group. Libya produced mere 0.41 mbd; Ecuador pumped at 0.54 mbd; Qatar posted 0.67 mbd; and Algeria achieved 1.12 mbd in the month.