NIGERIA has again lost its Africa’s top oil producer status to Angola, as the country’s crude oil production fell by 67,000 barrels per day last month, latest data from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries have shown.
OPEC, in its Monthly Oil Market Report for April, which was released on Wednesday, put crude oil production from Nigeria at 1.677 million bpd in March based on direct communication, down from 1.744 million bpd in February.
Nigeria recorded the biggest drop in output in the month among its peers in OPEC, followed by Venezuela, based on direct communication.
Exports and production of Nigeria’s popular crude grade Forcados continued to be shut in due to a sabotage-related spill on the subsea Forcados pipeline. The country has recently seen a rise in militant attacks in its main oil-producing region, the Niger Delta, denting oil production.
The country’s production figure for March was put at 1.722 million bpd by secondary sources, compared to 1.762 million bpd the previous month.
According to secondary sources, total OPEC crude oil production in March averaged
32.25 million bpd, a marginal increase of 15, 000 bpd over the previous month.
The 13-member oil cartel, said in the report, “Crude oil output increased mostly from Iran, Iraq and Angola, while production decreased in UAE, Libya and Nigeria.”
Angola saw its oil output rise to 1.782 million bpd last month from 1.767 million bpd in February, based on direct communication, according to the OPEC report.
The southern African country had in November 2015 overtaken Nigeria in output level as it produced 1.722 million bpd, compared to 1.607 million bpd produced by Nigeria, OPEC’s December report showed.
According to the latest monthly report, OPEC believes crude supply outside the producer group is set to fall more than expected, with weaker Chinese, Colombian, UK and US oil output eclipsing better outlooks for Canada, Norway, Oman and Russia.
The outlook for non-OPEC supply has been hit largely by lower expectations for crude oil production from China’s onshore mature fields.
OPEC also cited the postponement of major new projects due to reduced cash flow as the impact of lower prices takes its toll.
It now sees output falling by 730,000 bpd over the year, up from a previous estimate of 700,000 bpd, to average 56.39 million bpd in 2016.
OPEC also partly attributed the 20 per cent surge in oil futures in March to weaker non-OPEC supply in 2016, supply disruptions in Iraq and Nigeria, signs US shale is shrinking, along with expectations of a supply intervention plan by major crude exporters in Doha on April 17.