Anxiety mounts as Nigeria’s crude export declines by 50,000 barrels

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By ADEWALE SANYAOLU

Nigeria’s crude export is said to have declined from two million barrels per day (bpd) to 1.95 million, according to a report released yesterday by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The decline, according to IEA, remained the lowest in the last four months, signaling anxiety amongst industry operators because of the possible effects it may have on the economy.

Besides, the development may be a set-back to the country’s export target for 2013. It would be recalled that members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) had, in its March 2013 meeting, raised concern over the declining contribution of the oil sector to growth, which became apparent in the second half of 2011, continued in the fourth quarter of 2012. Crude oil production, including condensates and natural gas liquids, decreased by 37,000 barrels per day in February this year to 2.035 million per day compared with the level of 2.072 million per day attained in December 2012.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had said: “Oil theft in the Niger Delta remained a source of concern. The Committee was also concerned that the decline in the growth rate of agriculture output which started in the 4th quarter of 2011 continued up to the end of 2012.” The slide in crude export could also be linked to the recent force majeure declared by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) on the Bonny Light off take programme last month, leading to the shutdown of the Nembe Creek Trunkline after a leak was observed.

According to Shell, there has been a recent upsurge in crude theft activities on the NCTL, resulting in frequent production shutdowns and massive oil spills blighting the environment. “Between February 22 and 25, 12 flow stations producing into the pipeline were shut down by safety systems three times due to oil theft,” the company said.

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