Nigeria’s crude oil production fell by 156,900 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.269 million bpd in March, from 1.426mbpd recorded in February. Consequently, the country lost its status as Africa’s top oil producer to Angola, according to latest data from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
With the cumulative loss of 4.8 million barrels in the month under review put in cost at the prevailing $55.89 per barrel for Brent crude, Nigeria is estimated to have lost over $271.8 million (N82.8 billion).
Angola, which has been working hard to remain Africa’s top producer, climbed to the top again for being able to maintain a daily production of 1.652 million barrels since January, even though it is a drop from last quarter of 2016 levels of 1.736mbpd.
This is not the first time the nation has lost its premier position to the former Portuguese enclave, spurred majorly by crude shut-ins resulting from either militant attacks or facility maintenance by oil companies.
The southern African country became the top producer at the onset of renewed militancy in the Niger Delta, but Nigeria was able to recover lost grounds between December and January when the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, put the country’s production at 2mbpd.
According to OPEC, its members pumped a combined 31.93 million barrels daily last month, down by 153,000 bpd from February. Saudi Arabia was said to have produced 9.9 million bpd in March, more than 100,000 bpd below its monthly quota under the production cut deal.
Nigeria recorded the biggest drop in output in March among its peers in OPEC, followed by Saudi Arabia, the group’s biggest producer. The 13-member cartel, in its latest monthly oil market report for April, said Nigeria recorded the biggest decline of about 157,000bpd in the period under review.