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Nigeria’s December oil output down to 1.52m bpd on Qua Iboe issues – DPR

Nigeria’s crude and condensate output in December fell 9% month on month to 1.52 million b/d, data from the Department of Petroleum Resources — the oil industry regulator — showed, hit by production problems at key export grade Qua Iboe.

Crude production fell to 1.17 million b/d last month from 1.33 million b/d in November. Condensate production, however, was up slightly, averaging 348,078 b/d in December from 339,920 the previous month.

Loadings of Qua Iboe have been on force majeure since mid-December after they were temporarily halted due to a fire at the Qua terminal, operator ExxonMobil said. Nigeria-based sources said the fire led to production issues for Qua Iboe, and the force majeure on exports remained in place.

Production of Qua Iboe — Nigeria’s largest export grade and popular among refiners globally, with Canada, India, Indonesia, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the US, being regular buyers — averaged 49,946 b/d last month, compared with 159,225 b/d in November, DPR data showed.

Exports of Brass River were on force majeure from late November to mid-December, after a sabotage attack on an oil and gas pipeline.

Africa’s largest oil producer saw its output fall steadily in the second half of last year as it came under pressure to make hefty cuts as part of its OPEC+ obligations.

Nigeria has the capacity to produce around 2.2 million b/d of crude and condensate but it pumped around 1.75 million b/d in 2019, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.

That is the lowest output since 2016 when Niger Delta militants repeatedly attacked key oil infrastructure pushing production to as low as 1.4 million-1.5 million b/d at points that year.

The current output cap by OPEC and its nine non-OPEC allies are focused on crude and not condensate.

Under the OPEC+ deal, Nigeria has committed to keeping its crude output at 1.52 million b/d for January and February, 313,000 b/d below its baseline under the deal of 1.829 million b/d.

Platts, one of the secondary sources that monitors compliance, includes Agbami in Nigeria’s crude oil figure as it is marketed as a crude export blend and not a condensate by the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. and international oil companies.

Source: S&P Global Platts