Nigeria failed to supply its crude oil production figure for last month to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the group’s latest monthly report released on Wednesday showed.
Nigeria regained the Africa’s top oil producer status in May after it lost it to Angola in January as it recorded the biggest increase in output among its peers in the OPEC that month.
OPEC uses secondary sources to monitor its oil output, but also publishes a table of figures submitted by its member countries.
Crude oil production from Nigeria increased to 1.855 million barrels in September from 1.804 million barrels the previous month, according to secondary sources.
Based on direct communication, the nation’s output stood at 1.742 million barrels in August but no figure was made available for September’s production, according to the report.
OPEC said the group’s total production in September averaged 32.75 million bpd, showing an increase of 88,000 bpd over the previous month.
“Crude oil output increased in Libya, Nigeria, Iraq and Gabon, while production showed declines mainly in Venezuela,” it added.
The group said the uplift in the Brent crude benchmark along with elevated price differentials supported light sweet crude basket components from West and North Africa, boosting prices sizably to above $55 per barrel.
It said, “Booming refinery profits are helping West African oil producers to sell cargoes at higher values, aided by a shortage in certain types of crude amid the OPEC and non-OPEC producing countries’ voluntary production adjustments and geopolitical disturbances. Nevertheless, sales from storage, spurred on by a flat forward structure in Brent prices, capped West African crude price differentials.”
Last month, OPEC endorsed Nigeria’s position that the exemption granted it at the November 2016 ministerial conference and extended in May this year should be sustained until it stabilised its crude oil production.
Nigeria had argued that although its production recovery efforts had made some appreciable progress since October last year, it was not yet out of the woods.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, told the meeting that even though Nigeria hit 1.802 million bpd in August, it was not enough justification for a call by some countries for it to be brought into the fold.
According to him, Nigeria will be prepared to cap its crude production when it has stabilised at 1.8 million bpd.
Last year, Nigeria saw a resurgence of militant attacks in the Niger Delta that caused the nation’s oil production to plummet to a near 30-year low of 1.4 million barrels per day from about 2.2 million bpd.