By Cynthia Ezekwe
Nigeria’s oil production plunged for the first time in seven months in March 2023 as the country’s output dropped by 38,102 barrels per day (bpd), resulting in a cumulative loss of about 1,181,162 barrels in the month under review.
Industry data showed that oil production in Africa’s largest producer had been on the rise since September 2022, following concerted efforts by the federal government and stakeholders to curb oil theft in the sector.
However, the rise in oil output dipped in March, as latest figures from the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), indicated that while the country pumped 1,306,304 barrels of crude daily in February, the volume dropped to 1,268,202 barrels per day in March, indicating a decrease of 38,102 barrels daily, which implies that Nigeria lost a total of about 1,181,162 barrels of crude in March.
Meanwhile, data from Country Economy, a global statistical firm, showed that the average cost of Brent, the international benchmark for oil, in March 2023, was $78.43 per barrel. This signifies that by losing 1,181,162 barrels in March, Nigeria lost N42.71 billion at the official exchange rate of N461/$, during the period under review.
In January 2023, Nigeria produced about 1.258 million barrels per day (mbpd) oil, which is about 23,000 barrels per day higher than the 1.235 mbpd crude oil output in December 2022.
The positive record was sustained in February, with an output of 1.31 mbpd. But the volume dropped to 1.27 mbpd in March, putting an end to the seven-month upward trend in Nigeria’s oil output.
Regardless,the country targets to meet the 1.8mbpd quota approved for it by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The NUPRC has also stated that the output is expected to increase in the coming months as further measures are introduced and sustained to remove all illegal connections that aid crude oil theft.