Crude oil production in Nigeria crashed by over nine million barrels between March and April 2023, leading to a cumulative revenue loss of about N356bn, findings by The PUNCH showed on Sunday.

Industry operators blamed the plunge in oil production on the recent strike by some oil workers, which warranted the shutdown of production at selected wells for a period, as well as the theft of crude by thieves. They, however, called for tougher investigations, as they alleged that some persons at oil export terminals could be culpable in the theft and fraud at these terminals. They also pointed out that this could be the reason why the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), gave an order last week directing the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to monitor crude oil production by taking over the regulatory oversight of crude oil export terminals nationwide.

An analysis of the latest oil production figures obtained from the NUPRC indicated that while Nigeria’s output in February was 1,306,304 per day, it fell to  1,268,202 per day in March, before crashing to 998,602 barrels per day in April. This showed that between February and March, the country lost 38,102 barrels of crude oil daily, representing a total of 1,181,162 barrels for the 31 days of March. Also, between March and April, Nigeria’s oil production crashed by 269,600 barrels per day, which translates to a total of 8,088,000 in the 30 days of April.

Country Economy, a global statistical firm, put the average cost of Brent, the international benchmark for oil, in March 2023, at $78.43/barrel. Therefore by losing 1,181,162 barrels in March, Nigeria lost a total of $92.64m (N42.71bn at the official exchange rate of N461/$), during the period under review.

Similarly, data from Statistica, another international statistical firm, showed that the average cost of Brent in April was about $82/barrel, meaning that Nigeria lost $679.4m (N313.2bn) last month, due to the 8.1 million barrels drop in oil output. A summation of the monthly losses indicated that Nigeria lost a total of about 9,269,162 barrels of crude oil valued at N355.9bn during the two-month period.

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