Nigeria Registers Third Consecutive Oil Production Drop in 2023, Slumping to 1.08 Million bpd in July

Nigeria’s oil production experienced a noticeable setback in July 2023, as revealed by the most recent data provided by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC). The country’s oil output dropped to 1,081,396 barrels per day (bpd), marking the third consecutive decrease since April when production fell below the significant 1 million bpd mark.

The NUPRC’s data outlined a substantial decline of 167,564 bpd in July, reflecting a significant 15.5 percent decrease in comparison to the preceding month of June 2023, during which 1,248,960 bpd had been produced. This downward trajectory in oil output also impacted the broader perspective, as Nigeria’s total oil production in July, when factoring in condensate, plummeted to 33.5 million bpd, down from the previous month’s figure of 37.5 million bpd.

The concept of condensate played a significant role in this scenario. Condensate represents a mixture of light liquid hydrocarbons, akin to a light crude oil with a high API gravity. Typically, it’s separated from a natural gas stream at the point of production through a process called field separation, which involves reducing the temperature and pressure of the gas to atmospheric conditions.

Interestingly, Nigeria’s oil production decline caught the attention of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which highlighted the country’s diminishing output in its assessment. As a result of this decline, Nigeria now holds the position of the third-largest oil producer in Africa, a notable shift in its standing within the regional context.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited embarked on a significant financial move on August 16, securing a substantial $3 billion emergency crude repayment loan from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). This strategic financial maneuver aimed to address the challenges posed by the recent turbulence in the foreign exchange market and sustain the naira’s stability. The loan was specifically structured as a crude-for-cash arrangement, aiming to infuse much-needed financial support into Nigeria’s economy.

In summation, Nigeria’s oil industry confronted a considerable decline in production during July 2023, as evidenced by data from the NUPRC. This ongoing trend of decreased output since April brought the country’s oil production below the 1 million bpd threshold. The integration of condensate into the equation further accentuated the decline. This decline, in turn, prompted action from international entities like OPEC and led the NNPC to secure a substantial financial injection through an emergency crude repayment loan. These developments collectively signify the complex challenges and strategies at play within Nigeria’s oil landscape.