New Telegraph

Nigeria’s Oil Production Nose Dive

Recent data from Statista showed that Nigeria’s crude oil production has been tracked over a span of 23 years.

At its zenith, Nigeria recorded a peak crude oil production of 2.5 million barrels per day (mbpd), but as of August 2023, this figure stands at 1.1 mbpd.

Delving into history, the numbers paint a more detailed picture.

In the year 2000, Nigeria’s crude oil production averaged 2.15 mbpd, followed by an increase to 2.26 mbpd (par Barrel)in 2001.

The subsequent years saw fluctuations: 2.08 mbpd in 2002, 2.23 mbpd in 2003, and a peak of 2.52 mbpd in 2005. (par Barrel)

However, the zenith was short-lived. From 2006 to 2016, a gradual decline set in, with production dropping to 1.89 mbpd in 2016.

While there were minor recoveries in 2017 and 2018 (1.96 mbpd and 2 mbpd respectively), the trend turned sharply downwards.

In 2022, Nigeria’s crude oil production plummeted to 1.45 mbpd, even worse, in the month of August 2022, the country produced 972,000 barrels per day at the height of crude oil theft activities.

Looking at 2023, data from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) reflects a range between 1 mbpd in April 2023 and a peak of 1.26 mbpd in March 2023, considering oil production excluding condensates.

This ongoing trend underscores the critical need to address the factors contributing to this decline and to strategize for a more sustainable and robust oil production landscape in Nigeria’s future.


The Brazil vs. Nigeria context: Last week, Brazil’s ANP oil agency, announced that the country produced 4.482 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, the highest in recorded history.

The presented data underlines a pressing need for Nigeria to urgently elevate its crude oil production.

This imperative is driven by several factors:

  • The necessity to meet the ambitious 2023 budget oil production benchmark of 1.69 million barrels per day
  • Ensuring adequate stock for existing modular refineries
  • Bolstering the country’s revenues to address the multifaceted challenges the government faces.

Sources familiar with the dynamics of Nigeria’s diminishing crude oil production shared insights with Media organizations on Monday.

Their assessment underscored a critical shortfall in proactive efforts within Nigeria’s oil industry management to amplify oil production.

Furthermore, they emphasised a historical complacency among the government and key stakeholders, contented with the production rates of the past, without laying the groundwork for investments and infrastructure needed to escalate production and curb theft within the industry.

This void in foundational initiatives has now placed the country at a pivotal juncture, demanding immediate, strategic interventions for revitalizing the oil sector.

  • “I remember around the year 2000, Nigeria was producing more crude than Brazil at the time, but the GMD of NNPC at the time, was advocating that NNPC should become like Petrobras and start investing in oil and gas technology.
  • “Fast forward to 23 years later and Brazil is now producing 4.4 million barrels per day and Nigeria is struggling with 1.3 million barrels per day or 3 million barrels less.”

The source emphasizes that Nigeria must exert every conceivable effort to bolster crude oil production. This action is pivotal not only for attracting enhanced investments in the sector but also for bolstering the nation’s revenues.

Concurrently, it presents an opportunity to escalate investments across diverse sectors of the economy, liberating the country from the stifling quagmire of burgeoning debt and a revenue standstill.

The imperative lies in this critical juncture where concerted actions can pave the way for a financially fortified and self-sustained nation.

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