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Nigeria’s Oil Production Struggles

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Nigeria’s grip on the title of Africa’s biggest oil producer remains steady, but challenges abound as the nation grapples with consistently falling short of oil production targets.

While the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reported a marginal increase in Nigeria’s average daily crude oil production to 1.276 million barrels per day (bpd) in June 2024, this figure still falls below the country’s OPEC quota of 1.5 million bpd and the government’s ambitious budget target of 1.78 million bpd.

This shortfall in production presents a significant hurdle for President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, hindering efforts to bolster revenue generation.


The situation is further complicated by the country’s aspiration to reach a daily production capacity of 2 million barrels by 2025, as expressed by Minister of Petroleum Resources (Oil) Heineken Lokpobiri. Experts, however, cast doubt on the feasibility of this goal given the current constraints.

Insecurity, Investment Slump, and Operational Bottlenecks Hamper Growth

Several factors are conspiring to impede Nigeria’s oil production potential. Insecurity in the oil-producing Niger Delta region remains a persistent concern. The activities of armed groups and oil theft continue to disrupt operations and deter much-needed investment.

Additionally, a general decline in investment within the oil sector further exacerbates the issue. International Oil Companies (IOCs) have been scaling back their presence in Nigeria, citing these very challenges. The sluggish pace of approving oil asset transfers also throws a wrench into the works, creating uncertainty and hindering progress.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited is well aware of the gravity of the situation. In a recent address at the Nigeria Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition (NOG Energy Week), NNPC Group Chief Executive Officer Mele Kyari declared a firm commitment to tackling these challenges.

He emphasized the need for swift action, stating, “We have decided to stop the debate. We have declared war on the challenges affecting our crude oil production. War means war. We have the right tools. We know what to fight. We know what we have to do at the level of assets. We have engaged our partners. And we will work together to improve the situation.”

Kyari’s assertion that Nigeria has the capacity to produce 2 million barrels daily without deploying new rigs highlights the potential for improvement. However, he acknowledges the critical roadblock of sluggish decision-making, particularly regarding procurement processes. Streamlining these procedures will be crucial in NNPC’s fight to boost production.

Read Also: Nigeria Battles Food Inflation: Government Unveils ₦2 Trillion Plan to Ensure Food Security

If You Ask Me

The path forward for Nigeria’s oil sector is fraught with both challenges and opportunities. The government and NNPC’s commitment to addressing insecurity, attracting investment, and streamlining operations is a positive step. Kyari’s “war” declaration underscores the urgency of action. However, translating this commitment into tangible results will be key.

Success hinges on effectively tackling the root causes of insecurity in the Niger Delta, fostering a more investment-friendly environment, and expediting operational processes. If these hurdles can be surmounted, Nigeria has the potential to reassert its dominance as a major oil producer and unlock significant economic benefits.

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