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Nigerian Oil Agencies Spar Over the Country’s True Production Figures

Two separate agencies regulating Nigeria’s oil industry have offered wildly different figures for the country’s actual oil production, with one agency recording a 17% shortfall with some $3.3 million at stake, Nigerian Vanguard reported on Thursday. 

The Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) claims that its data shows the country’s actual oil production for April 2024 was 1.28 million barrels per day (mbpd), while the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has reported 1.7 million bpd of nationwide output, according to Vanguard. 

The nearly 400,000 bpd discrepancy hits at the heart of Nigeria’s transparency woes related to its oil industry, which has long suffered from rampant theft, corruption, and mismanagement. 

According to NUPRC, Nigeria’s output for April rose by a modest 4% in April, up from 1.23 million bpd in March. At the same time, the regulatory body shows that production actually declined in the first four months of this year, missing budget targets by some 33 million barrels for a 17% shortfall. In contradiction to NUPRC’s figures, NNPCL reported 1.78 million bpd in April output. 

Vanguard’s Energy segment says it also obtained data showing that oil production for the first four months of 2024 was 182.75 million barrels or less than 85% of the government’s projections for that time period. 

NNPC Limited CEO Mele Kyari blamed the traditional theft and pipeline sabotage for the shortfall, calling for more help to “remove the security challenge we have in our onshore assets” but also bemoaned a lack of infrastructure. 

“It is not just about theft, it is about the availability of the infrastructure to deliver the volume to the market. No one is going to put money into oil production when he knows the production will not get to the market,” Vanguard quoted Kyari as saying, adding that the government’s security forces had dismantled nearly 6,000 illegal pipeline connections and 600 illegal refineries over the past two years. 

“I can see a number of people who have got marginal fields. Yes, they are drilling, but they are concerned about how to take the production to market. Everybody is thinking of barging. We know barging is an abnormality. Nobody is going to spend at least $7, in some cases, $21 to transport a barrel of oil to the terminal. So, barging is not normal, barging is not economical, but that’s what we are doing today,” Kyari was quoted as saying. 

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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