Nigeria’s crude oil output rose to an appreciable 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in in the month if February, the highest in the last 13 months, according to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission’s (NUPRC) latest oil production status report.
Data from the upstream regulatory body shows that the country’s oil production increased by 39 percent from 937,766 bpd in September when the country was battling with oil thieves. On a month-on-month basis, Nigeria’s crude oil output rose by 48,154 bpd from 1.26 in January
Oil and gas analysts have pinned the continuous improvement in oil production on the oil reforms by the government and partnerships by oil companies.
“The increase in oil production was because losses end where tightened. Tompolo and his gang discovered so much pipeline bunkering in the Niger Delta, and some companies merged, which increase production,” said Uwaye Omijie, a petroleum production engineer at Midwestern Oil & Gas Company, Delta state.
“This development will generate more money for the country and influence the availability of products in the oil market, thereby meeting the world’s demand.”
According to Omijie, our target used to be 2.2 million bpd. With the International Oil Companies (IOCs) selling out the fields, moving to Deepwater Operations, and some leaving the country, I doubt our national companies can pull as much weight as the IOC.
“In that sense, my forecast for Nigeria’s oil production will not surpass 1.5 million bpd for now, although more companies are drilling more wells,” he said.
According to a statement by Reuters last week, in February, Nigeria was behind the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC’s) largest increase in production, with the African nation boosting production by 100,000 bpd.
The statement said that OPEC’s crude oil production for February was, on average, 150,000 bpd more than in January. The 13-oil cartel’s crude oil production rose to 28.97 million bpd.
Ayodele Oni, Partner, Energy Practice Group, Bloomfield LP, said the efforts at reducing oil theft along the pipeline routes to the export terminals have been critical to increased production.
“The government needs to ensure this trajectory is sustained,” he said. “The high oil prices have also been some form of encouragement to produce more.”
Last month, The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) revealed that Nigeria is on course to achieve an oil production level of 1.8 million barrels per day in the next two to three months.
Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer, NNPCL said NNPCL crossed the 1.6 million bpd oil production threshold on February 16, adding that there is a line of sight to hit a recovery level to the budget level 1.8 million bpd.
“I know that it is not far away, probably two to three months maximum, but we will be there, and that will bring back partners to invest, return the confidence of our investors and ultimately bring back growth,” Kyari said.
Last December, Timipre Sylva, minister of state petroleum resources, said that improved security surveillance along major crude oil pipelines is helping to shore up oil production from about 900,000 barrels per day to between 1.4 and 1.6 million barrels.
He also said that the FG is working to ensure that all local and international oil companies return to full capacity production in the country.
Meanwhile, according to OPEC, Nigeria’s oil rig count increased to 13 this year, its highest level since January 2020. The country’s oil rig count rose by 85.7 percent from seven in September to 13 last month.
The rig count reflects the level of exploration, development, and production activities in a country’s oil and gas sector. Active oil exploration attracts investment and revenues into the country for economic growth.
For Ndubuisi Okereke, a senior lecturer in the petroleum engineering department at the Federal University of Technology, the increase in oil rig count means that more in-fill wells were drilled from existing oil fields during that period – possibly some of the recently auctioned marginal oil fields.
“The increase suggests that the fight against oil theft is yielding results, and some of our abandoned production lines are beginning to come on stream again. That is a welcome development,” Okereke said.