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Nigeria’s oil production inches up to 1.7 mbpd in May, but security concerns remain

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Group Chief Executive, Mele Kyari, has offered a cautiously optimistic outlook on the country’s oil production.

While output is gradually increasing, reaching nearly 1.7 million barrels per day (mbpd) as of May 18th, Kyari emphasized the persistent challenge of oil theft and vandalism.

Speaking at a stakeholder event, Kyari highlighted the need to address insecurity in the Niger Delta, a major oil-producing region.

He pointed to the crippling effect of pipeline vandalism, forcing the industry to resort to expensive and inefficient transportation methods like barging.

“Security is paramount,” Kyari stressed. “No one will invest in production when they know the oil won’t reach the market.”

The NNPC is taking steps to combat the problem, with Kyari citing the removal of thousands of illegal refineries and pipeline connections.

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However, he acknowledged the ongoing government efforts to improve security infrastructure, which he believes will ultimately lead to a significant improvement.

Despite the challenges, Kyari pointed to a positive trend. Production is nearing pre-pandemic levels, with the sharp decline in April 2020 attributed largely to COVID-19 lockdowns, which temporarily halted criminal activity.

Looking ahead, Kyari emphasized the importance of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline project. Completion of the 2.7-kilometer river crossing, expected by June, will be a critical step in facilitating gas flow from eastern to western Nigeria.

The event also saw industry experts weigh in. NAPE President Abiodun Ogunjobi called for investment in upgrading existing gas infrastructure alongside new projects.

While Nigeria’s oil production edges towards pre-pandemic levels, significant challenges remain.

Addressing security concerns and investing in infrastructure are crucial steps towards a more stable and productive future for the Nigerian oil and gas sector.

(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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