By Onome Amuge
Despite recording lower crude oil production in March 2023, Nigeria retained its position as the largest oil producer in Africa as it pumped 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) production rate in the month under review, according to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
OPEC, in its most recent monthly oil market report, showed that total OPEC-13 crude oil production averaged 28.80 million barrels per day in March 2023, lower by 86,000 barrels per day month-on-month. OPEC stated that crude oil output increased mainly in Saudi Arabia, but production in Angola, Iraq and Nigeria declined in March 2023.
The report further stated that in the first quarter of 2023, world oil demand is estimated to have grown by 2.1 million barrels per day year-on-year, underpinned by a strong rebound in China’s oil demand, as well as robust oil demand data in other non-OECD regions, particularly the Middle East and Asia.
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The oil market report also noted that the share of OPEC crude oil out of total global production was marginally unchanged at 28.8 per cent in March compared to the previous month.
Looking ahead, OPEC maintained its forecast of global oil demand growth which remained unchanged to an estimated 2.4 million barrels per day year-on-year in the second quarter of 2023, 2.5 million barrels per day year-on-year in the third quarter of 2023 and 2.3 million barrels per day year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2023.
The report also showed that Nigeria had the highest crude production in Africa, 200 thousand barrels per day above second-placed Algeria which recorded one million barrels per day. Meanwhile, Angola recorded 972,000 barrels per day to emerge the continent’s third largest producer in March 2023.
Meanwhile, previous data from the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) showed that Nigeria’s crude oil production for March was the lowest recorded since the start of the year 2023.
According to NUPRC data, Nigeria was only able to pump 1,268,202 barrels per day of crude oil in March, a significant decline when compared to 1,306,304 barrels per day recorded for February 2023.