The country’s earnings from crude oil export have continued to fall, as latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria showed that the volume of crude export dropped by 10.23 million barrels in the month of May.
At the official exchange rate of N315.5 to a dollar, and an average of $47.59 per barrel of crude during the review period, Nigeria’s earnings from the export of the commodity dropped by N153.5bn in May.
The country’s crude oil export opened at 1.45 million barrels per day or 44.95 million barrels in the month of January, but it recorded declines in the preceding months and reduced to 0.9 million bpd or 27.9 million barrels in May.
In April, Nigeria’s crude export stood at 1.23 million bpd, but this dropped by 330,000 bpd in May.
According to the CBN, the drop in oil export was largely due to destruction of oil and natural gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta by militants.
The apex bank, in its report for May 2016, said, “Nigeria’s crude oil production, including condensates and natural gas liquids, stood at an average of 1.35 million barrels per day or 41.85 million barrels in the review month. This represented a decline of 0.33 million bpd or 19.6 per cent below the average of 1.68 million bpd or 52.08 million barrels recorded in the preceding month.
“Crude oil export stood at 0.90 million bpd or 27.90 million barrels, which represented a decrease of 26.83 per cent, compared with 1.23 million bpd or 38.13 million barrels recorded in the preceding month. The development in crude oil production was attributed largely to the destruction of oil and natural gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta by militants.”
It, however, noted that allocation of crude oil for domestic consumption remained at 0.45 million bpd or 13.95 million barrels during the period under review.
It added, “At an estimated average of $47.59 per barrel, the average spot price of Nigeria’s reference crude, the Bonny Light, indicated an increase of 12.6 per cent, compared with the level in the preceding month. The development was attributed, largely, to increasing global oil supply outages and the growth in global oil demand, plus ongoing declines in the United States rig count and in crude oil production.”
The report put the United Kingdom Brent at $44.77 per barrel, the WTI at $46.61/b, and the Forcados at $47.19/b, adding that the commodities exhibited similar trends as the Bonny Light.
“The average price of OPEC basket of 11 selected crude streams stood at $43.23/b in May 2016. This represented a rise of 14.2 per cent, compared with the average price of $37.86/b recorded in the preceding month. It, however, showed a decline of 30 per cent relative to the level in the corresponding period of 2015,” it added.
Analysts have condemned the continued destruction of oil installations in the Niger Delta by militants, stressing that the development has put a serious strain on the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
The Director of Emerald Energy Institute, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Wumi Iledare, told our correspondent that “the destruction of oil installations in Nigeria is costing our economy so much, let alone how these activities have so depleted our forex reserves, which is not good for a developing economy like ours.”