For the first time in five years, Nigeria lost its position as Africa’s largest oil producer to Angola.
According to data made available by Bloomberg Africa, Angola’s daily average oil output for August was 1.17 million barrels per day while Nigeria’s daily average output stood at 1.13 million barrels per day.
The data did not however come as a shock as Nigeria’s oil production has been on a steady decline since 2020. It has been reported earlier that oil theft and vandalism are two serious issues affecting Nigeria’s oil production.
Some major oil companies which include Shell Nigeria had warned that oil theft poses an existential threat to Nigeria’s oil industry.
In July 2022, the Managing Director and Country Chair for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Osagie Okunbor said oil theft was one of the reasons that Nigeria could not meet its OPEC quota of 1.8 million barrels a day.
Okunbor further disclosed that two of the company’s most important pipelines in Nigeria have been shut down with hundreds of thousands of barrels a day shut-in.
Similarly, the head of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Gbenga Komolafe said in a statement that about 141 million barrels of oil was produced in the first quarter of 2022, but only about 132 million barrels of oil were received at export terminals.
“This indicates that over nine million barrels of oil was lost to crude oil theft which amounts to a loss in government revenue of about $1 billion … in just one quarter,” Komolafe said in a statement.
Sunday Telegraph learnt that the extent of oil theft in the Niger Delta region is already forcing some oil companies out of the country to set operations elsewhere.
Barely six weeks after TotalEnergies announced the plan to sell its stake in a Nigerian oil joint venture, the company decided to invest about $850 million in oil projects in Angola.