Latest data from the organisation’s Monthly Oil Market Report for February 2022, obtained in Abuja on Thursday, showed that the average crude oil output from Nigeria in the third quarter of 2022 was 0.999 million barrels per day, according to figures accessed by OPEC based on direct communication.
This, however, increased to an average of 1.258mbpd in January 2023, indicating an estimated daily rise of 259,000 barrels, and 7.77 million barrels in a month (30 days).
This, therefore, implies that the country pumped an additional 31.1 million barrels of crude within the four-month period of October, November, December and January.
Further analysis of OPEC’s data indicated that while the average output in the third quarter of last year was 0.999mbpd, the country produced an average of 1.186mbpd in November 2022, 1.235mbpd in December 2022 and 1.258mbpd in January 2023.
On crude oil price movements, the February 2023 report also revealed that there was an increase in the cost of the commodity in January this year, when compared to the preceding month of December 2022.
“The OPEC Reference Basket crude rose $1.94, or 2.4 per cent, m-o-m (month-on-month) in January to average $81.62/barrel. The ICE Brent front-month increased by $2.57, or 3.2 per cent, to average $83.91/barrel, and NYMEX WTI rose by $1.64, or 2.1 per cent, to average $78.16/barrel. The Brent/WTI futures spread widened m-o-m, rising by 93 cents to average $5.75/barrel,” the report stated.
It explained that crude spot prices rose in January, buoyed by an improved demand outlook after China lifted most COVID-19-related mobility restrictions and the country’s economy was expected to continue to reopen.
It stated that signs of firm demand in the crude spot market were boosted by the return of Chinese buyers and the expectation of further increasing crude demand after China’s Ministry of Commerce released a second batch of crude import quotas in 2023.
Industry operators told our correspondent that the progress being made in oil production should be sustained. They commended the Federal Government and its security agencies, but pointed out that Nigeria had yet to meet the oil output quota approved by OPEC.
The President, Petroleum Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, said, “We’ve been following developments as regards oil production and we must commend the government and security agencies for the work they are doing on this.
“However, there’s still a lot of work to do, because we have not met the production quota approved for us as a country by OPEC. So we have to work harder to meet this target in order to get the revenue from that too.”
Nigeria has been recording improvements in oil output since October last year and this is attributed to the increased security and surveillance of oil facilities in the Niger Delta, thereby reducing crude oil theft in the region.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), recently ordered security agencies to eradicate crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta before May 29, 2023.
He said the order became vital in order to effectively ramp up the country’s oil output, stressing that the Federal Government could no longer tolerate the criminality.
Buhari gave the directive through the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, while addressing troops of the Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe in Effurum, Delta State, and Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Sylva was quoted in a statement issued in Abuja by his media aide, Horatius Egua, as saying, “Mr. President has mandated us to eradicate crude oil theft. He has directed that no litre of crude oil should be stolen across the country again, especially in the South-South.
“He wants crude oil theft completely eliminated by May 29, 2023, as one of the legacies of his government. This is the message from Mr President. We are not where we want to be, but we are happy at what we are seeing.”
Prior to the renewed efforts of the Federal Government in tackling the menace of crude oil thieves, the nation’s daily crude oil production was about 900,000 barrels per day.
But with the recent improvements in security efforts, there has been an increase in oil output, as production has risen to about 1.5 million barrels per day, according to the statement.
This 1.5mbpd output, however, comprises crude oil and condensates pumped by oil and gas companies in the Niger Delta.