Crude oil exports from Nigeria to Europe have increased to 730,000 barrels per day despite the shortage of its supply to local refineries.
On Thursday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited revealed that Nigeria’s crude oil flow to Europe had increased in a bid to fill supply gaps left by the ban on Russian crude.
This is just as the Crude Oil Refinery Owners Association of Nigeria told The PUNCH that the Federal Government had begun the move to increase supply to local refineries.
The Executive Director, Crude and Condensate, NNPC Trading Limited, Maryamu Idris, disclosed this during a presentation at the Argus European Crude Conference in London, according to a statement issued by the oil firm in Abuja.
She pointed out that six months before the Russia-Ukraine war, 678,000bpd of Nigerian crude grades went to Europe, compared to 710,000bpd six months later and 730,000bpd so far this year.
“This trend makes it evident that Nigerian grades are increasingly becoming a significant component in the post-war palette of European refiners. Several Nigerian distillate-rich grades have become a steady preference for many European refiners, given the absence of Russian Urals and diesel.
“Forcados Blend, Escravos Light, Bonga, and Egina appear to be the most popular, and our latest addition — Nembe Crude – fits well into this basket. This was a strong factor behind our choice of London and the Argus European Crude Conference as the most ideal launch hub for the grade,” Idris state
Her revelation came just about one week after The PUNCH reported that local refineries were starved of crude oil, although about five of them were ready to start producing refined petroleum products.
On November 2, 2023, it was exclusively reported that the failure to supply crude oil to domestic refineries, including the multi-billion dollar Dangote Refinery, had stalled the production of refined petroleum products at the facilities.
The report also stated that the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote refinery in Lagos missed the October production projection it had earlier set.
The October production target miss made it the second time in 2023 that Dangote Refinery would raise hopes of Africa, especially Nigeria, of a possible end to petrol importation. However, the failure to begin production means that Nigeria will continue to rely on fuel importation.
But in a swift reaction, the NNPCL announced the same day that it would provide six million barrels of crude to Dangote refinery in December 2023.
Similarly, the Federal Government met with operators of domestic refineries last week Wednesday in a bid to address concerns about the unavailability of crude oil for indigenous refiners.
At the meeting, the government specifically stated that “it is going to be a matter of national shame if we cannot meet our domestic crude obligations to step up our refining capacity,” stressing that the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote refinery was ready and should be provided with crude.