Oil production hits nine-month high

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, on Sunday, revealed that crude oil production in Nigeria rose to 1.235 million barrels per day in December 2022, representing the highest output since March when the country produced 1.237mbpd.

Figures obtained from the commission in Abuja showed that oil production increased from 1.185mbpd in November to 1.235mbpd in December, indicating that the effort of the Federal Government and security agencies in curbing oil theft was paying off.

Crude oil production in NIgeria had crashed to as low as 0.937mbpd in September last year, which was the lowest output recorded in Nigeria in several years.

The crash in oil production was attributed to the activities of pipeline vandals and oil thieves in the Niger Delta, a development that also made some international firms leave Nigeria.

Additional figures from the NUPRC showed that crude oil production, without blended or unblended condensates, in January, February, March, April, May and June, were 1.398mbpd, 1.257mbpd, 1.237mbpd, 1.219mbpd, 1.024mbpd and 1.158mbpd respectively.

For the months of July, August, September, October, November and December, the oil production figures were 1.08mbpd, 0.972mbpd, 0.937mbpd, 1.014mbpd, 1.185mbpd and 1.235mbpd respectively.

On Thursday, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), ordered security agencies to eradicate crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta before May 29, 2023, in order to effectively ramp up the country’s oil output.

He said the Federal Government could no longer tolerate the criminality.

Buhari gave the directive through the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, while addressing troops of the Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe in Effurum, Delta State, and Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Sylva was quoted in a statement issued in Abuja by his media aide, Horatius Egua, as saying, “Mr. President has mandated us to eradicate crude oil theft. He has directed that no litre of crude oil should be stolen across the country again, especially in the South-South.

“He wants crude oil theft completely eliminated by May 29, 2023, as one of the legacies of his government. This is the message from Mr President. We are not where we want to be, but we are happy at what we are seeing.”

Prior to the renewed efforts of the Federal Government in tackling the menace of crude oil thieves, the nation’s daily crude oil production was about 900,000 barrels per day.

But with the recent improvements in security efforts, there has been an increase in oil output, as production has risen to about 1.5 million barrels per day, according to the statement.

Sylva added, “I am happy to hear that morale is high here. We were here a few months ago to hand over the mandate of Mr. President to you and that is to ensure that there is zero tolerance for crude oil theft in the region.