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Nigeria Launches New Crude Oil Grade To Boost Exports

Nigeria’s state-run NNPC has officially launched a new grade of crude oil, Nembe, in an attempt to undo the damage from long-running thefts and attacks in the country’s Niger Delta region. 

The new Nembe grade is expected to add 1.9 million barrels of crude oil exports to Nigeria’s portfolio monthly, according to an NNPC press release, with first cargoes already sold in October for export to Western Europe.  

As a crude grade, Nembe is similar to Nigeria’s low-sulfur, distillate-rich grades, which go for a premium to Brent crude and are suitable for European refiners. According to the NNPC, “the Nembe crude oil grade also has a low sulphur content and low carbon footprint due to flare gas elimination, fitting perfectly into the required spec of major buyers in Europe.”

Nembe crude has previously been produced, though not as a separate grade until now. 

In previous years, Nembe went through the Nembe Creek Trunk Line along with Nigeria’s Bonny Light grade, but attacks on pipelines in the Niger Delta sidelined production.  

The announcement of the new crude oil grade coincides with the start of operations of Nigeria’s new Nembe Crude Oil Export Terminal (NCOET), a floating storage and offloading vessel with a storage capacity of 2 million barrels. 

With a loading capacity of 25,000 barrels per hour, the new terminal will be exporting over 3.6 million barrels of crude per month once operating at full scale. 

According to Reuters, citing Nigerian sources, Nembe production now sits at about 50,000 barrels per day, with the NNPC eyeing a ramp-up to 80,000 bpd by Q1 2024 and 150,000 bpd by 2025. In October, Reuters published a survey showing that total Nigerian oil production was at around 1.5 million bpd, up from 1.39 million bpd the month prior. The goal, a Nigerian source told Reuters, is to reach 1.8 million bpd by the end of this year. 

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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