Nigeria’s position as Africa’s top crude oil producer has officially returned as its top competitor on the continent, Angola, saw subsequent drops in its production figures.
According to the latest data from the National Oil, Gas, and Biofuels Agency (ANPG), Angola’s hydrocarbon industry regulator, it was able to deliver only 969,646 barrels per day of oil in March, 9 per cent lesser than the 1,063,589 barrels per day produced in February 2023.
Angola, in August 2022, dispossessed Nigeria, which dropped into third as Africa’s top oil producer, following unprecedented oil theft, which cost it as much as $700 million monthly.
Data as of September 2022 showed that Nigeria produced 972,000 barrels per day, but over the course of the last six months, the country has actively improved its production as well as put in place measures to check the theft of black gold.
In March, Angola was the largest laggard among the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as it witnessed a drop of 100,000 barrels per day. This was due to a small export programme and field maintenance on the Dalia stream, resulting in exports hitting a multi-month low on some estimates.
In the same month, Nigeria’s crude oil output dropped month-on-month by 1.9 per cent to 1.517 million.
However, the nation’s output had risen by 3.5 per cent in February 2023 to 1.54 million barrels per day from 1.494 million barrels per day recorded in January, due to an improved battle against oil theft and other factors.
Nigeria’s newfound top position, however, remains shaky as the country witnessed a further 120,000 barrels per day drop in crude production in April as a Bloomberg survey showed that the country was able to produce about 1.32 million barrels per day.
This was due to strike action by Exxon Mobil workers in the country, which led the American company to declare force majeure on its Nigerian oil liftings.
Nigeria’s plan is to boost production to 1.6 million barrels per day, and will be hoping that it avoids any unforeseen circumstances that can limit the progress made over the last few months.