Nigeria's oil sector faces turbulence with mixed opportunities

Saipem 3000 in Nigeria A075As Nigeria reasserts itself as Africa's top oil producer, Shell has shut down the 225,000bpd Bonga oil field, dropping its daily output to under 2mn bpd, but the US has increased its import of Nigeria crude by nearly 300 per cent

Angola overtook Nigeria as Africa's leading oil producer earlier this year, and Libya, until its internal conflicts, were quickly on its way to producing over 2mn bpd. According to The Nigerian Guardian, 'the Ministry of Petroleum Resources revealed earlier this month that crude production had reached the 2m-bpd mark. That figure is up from the first eleven months of 2016, when the country averaged 1.85m bpd, according to a December report by the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).'

Because of this, senators in Abuja are currently debating the allocation of US$30mn to solar projects. This is according to the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria. 

However, on 7 March, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company announced the closure of its flagship facility, the 225,000 bpd Bonga oil field, for maintenance. This has meant that the countries production has dipped from 2.1mn bpd to 1.875mn bpd.

Bamidele Odugbesan, a spokesperson for Shell said, "SNEPCo has commenced turnaround maintenance at Bonga, executing statutory activities that will ensure continuous optimum operations at the deepwater field which began producing in November 2005. Production from the field was shut down on March 4, 2017, and is expected to resume at the conclusion of the exercise next month. “This is the fourth turnaround maintenance since Bonga began production.”

On 6 March, Africa News announced that the United States has almost tripled (287 per cent) the volume of crude oil purchased from Nigeria from 2015 to 2016. In 2015, the US imported 19.9mn barrels from Nigeria. This increased to 76.9mn in 2016. 

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