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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Militants Slow Nigeria's Oil Production

Crude oil reserves in Nigeria, the world's eighth largest exporter, have increased by 12 percent over the past year to 33.6 billion barrels, a top oil official said Friday.

"As at today, we have an oil reserve base of 33.6 billion barrels," Abubakar Yar'Adua chief of the state-run oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) told reporters.

The reserves in the OPEC member state stood at 30 billion barrels a year ago.

Nigeria, until recently Africa's leading oil producer and exporter before it was overtaken by Angola, is aiming to build a reserve base of 40 billion barrels by 2010.

But there are serious doubt that such a target could be realised in the wake of a spate of militant attacks that have hit operations in the country's oil-producing Niger delta.

Yar'Adua said despite "obstructions and incidents that militated against realisation of full potential of the country in terms of crude oil production" daily output was "maintained at an average of two million barrels per day" over the past 12 months.

But the country's Oil Minister Odein Ajumogobia last week admitted security concerns in the southern oil producing region had seen production drop to 1.8 million bpd.

"It was very disturbing a few weeks ago when for the first time Nigeria's daily oil production dropped to below 1.8 million barrels per day," Ajumogobia told a meeting of petroleum engineers.

Militant groups fighting for a greater share of the oil revenue in the Niger delta frequently launch attacks on installations and kidnap workers employed by oil and support companies operating in the region.

Source: IC News Online

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