Angola overtook Nigeria to emerge top African crude oil producer for the month of April, data from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has shown.
According to the April 2023 Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) published by the oil cartel, Angola recorded 1.06 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production in April, up from 972,000 bpd recorded in March.
But Nigeria recorded an output of 999,000 bpd in April compared to 1.3 million bpd in March. The April output figure represented the lowest production rate the nation has recorded in 2023.
On an annual basis, Nigeria’s output level also indicated a drop of 16.7 per cent to 999,000 bpd in April 2023, from 1.2 million bpd recorded in the corresponding period of April 2022.
“Nigeria’s economy faced challenges in gaining momentum in the first quarter of 2023, with business activity and consumer spending remaining subdued, in addition to high input-cost inflation and lower employment levels compared with the previous year,” the oil cartel said in the report.
In recent years, Nigeria has recorded a surge in pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft incidents in its oil-producing region, a development that worsened the nation’s revenue challenge.
The recent drop in the country’s crude production comes at a time when the Nigerian government postponed the June deadline for subsidy removal.
Earlier in the month, data from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) showed that Nigeria produced an average of 998,602 barrels of crude oil per day in April. The figure represented a fall in production from the 1.2 million bpd recorded in March.
OPEC in its report noted that oil production from the 13 members of the cartel averaged 28.60 million barrels per day in April, lower by 191,000 bpd compared to March.
The report found that OPEC’s Gulf producers – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates – met output targets under the OPEC+ deal with steady production.
Three producers exempted from supply cuts -Libya, Iran and Venezuela – also recorded varying output. While Iranian output was steady, Libya’s output edged lower and Venezuelan production rose slightly, boosting global supply.
Earlier in April, OPEC had agreed to cut output by about 1.27 million bpd as part of a total 2 million bpd reduction OPEC+ pledged in 2022.