Nigeria’s crude oil output hampered by theft has fallen from 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) at the start of the year to 900, 000 bpd as of September 2022, plunging the country to fourth place among largest oil producers in Africa, behind Angola, Algeria and Libya.
Historically, Nigeria has been the largest exporter of oil in Africa, even though a lack of infrastructure has long hindered Nigeria from being able to export at 100 per cent capacity. In recent times, oil production in the country typically varies between 1.4 and 1.6 million bpd.
Theft of oil in Nigeria is not a new problem but has grown over the last two decades. Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) Mele Kyari, claimed Nigeria was losing up to 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
The implication of this startling revelation is that Nigeria is losing more than half of its production, as the unaccounted 600, 000 bpd is 67 per cent of the current 900, 000 bpd output, presenting a bleak future for the most populous country in Africa.
Nigerian authorities are worried over this disturbing record as the National Assembly considers the country’s 2023 appropriation bill which is predicated on a daily oil production estimate of 1.69 million bpd, with a projected N1.92 trillion oil revenue.
But Kyari has said that the country was not helpless and recent clampdown on oil bunkers was yielding progress. A total of over 3.76 million litres of crude oil and 458,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil have been recovered, thereby denying oil thieves a total of over N2.1 billion worth of stolen crude oil and products.
“What is most difficult to manage today and daring for us to live with is the issue of crude oil theft, (but) we’re not helpless and our efforts are paying off,” Kyari said.