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Oil industry in Nigeria - statistics & facts

Oil was discovered in Nigeria in 1956, with production starting in the late 1950s. In the following decade, oil exploration was open to foreign companies and by then, with some exceptions due to economic circumstances, the oil industry grew constantly to become a global giant. In 1977, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) was founded. The aim of the state-owned corporation is to regulate and to participate in the country’s oil business. Nowadays, Nigeria is Africa’s main oil producer. With 18 operating pipelines and an average daily production of over two million barrels in 2019, Nigeria is the eleventh largest oil producer worldwide. The petroleum industry accounts for about nine percent of Nigeria’s GDP and for over 90 percent of all export value.

Between January and March 2020, average daily oil production in Nigeria was 1.81 million barrels. In 2020, production decreased due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the subsequent lower demand. According to estimations from April 2020, Nigeria's daily oil production would have reached 2.1 million barrels per day in a scenario without COVID-19. The low demand for oil during the first half of 2020 lead to a sharp fall in prices. The biggest drop in gasoline prices was recorded in April 2020, when the average price decreased by ten percent compared to the previous month. Nevertheless, in July 2020 gasoline prices increased again, reaching roughly 144 Naira per liter, which is about 0.37 U.S. dollars. Diesel prices in Nigeria dropped by over two percent in May 2020, this being the most significant monthly drop in 2020. As of July 2020, the price of diesel in Nigeria was 224,43 Naira, roughly 0.58 U.S. dollars per liter.

Since the early 1970s, Nigeria is a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The organization’s members are mainly from the Middle East and Africa, with Venezuela being the only South America member and founder. OPEC has the purpose to unify and coordinate the oil market. Nigeria is the ninth largest oil exporter in the world in terms of value. For the country, this means that about 94 percent of export value is generated by mineral fuels, oils, and distillation products. The main destination area of crude oil from Nigeria is Europe, followed by Asia and Africa. Exports to Europe were worth 3.3 billion U.S. dollars only between January and March 2020, whereas exports of oil products other than crude oil recorded the highest value in the Asian market, with roughly 655 million U.S. dollars.

Most of the largest oil companies operating in Nigeria are from the United States and Europe. For instance, the multinational oil and gas producer ExxonMobil produced 191 thousand barrels of liquids per day in Nigeria in 2019. Similarly, the daily crude oil and natural gas liquids production in Nigeria by another American oil giant, Chevron, amounted to 173 thousand barrels in 2019. Approximately nine percent of the total net liquids production of crude oil and natural gas of this company comes from Nigeria. During the same year, the British-Dutch multinational Royal Dutch Shell produced almost 57 million barrels in Nigeria. The oil industry value generated by foreign companies represents an important source of income for the Nigerian government. In 2019, the Norwegian company Equinor paid 427 million U.S. dollars to the Nigerian government for extractive activities, of which the largest amount was derived from taxes. However, despite the oil industry being the main source of income in Nigeria, the wealth generated by oil reaches only a small share of the population.

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Oil industry in Nigeria

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