The production of 50.788 million barrels of crude oil valued at N1.474tn was stalled between January and October last year due to community interferences and other challenges forcing oil terminals to shut down production 222 times within the period, OKECHUKWU NNODIM reports
Nigeria’s crude oil earnings were depleted by about N1.474tn between January and October 2021 due to various concerns at terminals that prevented the production of 50.788 million barrels of oil during the 10-month period.
It was gathered that community interferences, industrial actions by oil workers, COVID-19 outbreak at some terminals, pipeline vandalism, among others, curtailed oil production in various terminals, leading to huge financial losses for Nigeria.
This came as stakeholders urged the Federal Government to push for the deployment of latest technologies in securing oil infrastructure, as well as try to avoid issues that would warrant industrial actions.
Industry data obtained from different reports of the Crude Oil Marketing Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited in Abuja showed that in January, February and March, the volumes of oil lost due to production shut-ins were 3,678,000; 4,105,000 and 3,142,000 respectively.
The losses posted in the months of April, May, June and July were 4,578,700; 4,187,500; 6,035,000 and 7,193,520 respectively.
It continued in August, September and October, as crude oil production losses due to shut-ins were put at 6,680,620; 6,362,700 and 4,824,946 respectively.
A summation of the crude oil volumes that were shut-in between January and October 2021 indicated that the country lost about 50.788 million barrels of oil during the 10-month period.
The 2021 average monthly prices of a barrel of Brent, the crude against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, were obtained from Statistica, a global statistical firm.
Figures from the international firm indicated that the average prices of Brent in January, February, March and April 2021 were $54.77, $62.28, $65.41 and $64.81 respectively.
In May, June, July and August 2021, the average prices were $68.53, $73.16, $75.17 and $70.71 per barrel respectively.
For the months of September and October, the average monthly prices of Brent per barrel were put at $74.49 and $83.54 respectively.
At the official exchange rate of N411.95 to the dollar, the worth of the crude volumes lost by the country in January, February, March and April were N82.98bn, N105.32bn, N84.66bn and N122.24bn respectively.
For the months of May, June and July, the country’s oil earnings were depleted by N118.23bn, N181.88bn and N222.76bn respectively.
Also in August, September and October, Nigeria could not make N194.71bn, N195.246bn and N166.05bn respectively from the sale of crude oil due to interferences in oil production at terminals.
This implies that the value of the 50.788 million barrels of crude oil that was lost by Nigeria during the 10-month period was about N1.474tn, a development which, according to analysts, would have been avoided.
They noted that the huge financial loss came at a time when the country’s debts had been increasing, with the Federal Government sourcing for funds by borrowing several billions of dollars.
According to industry stakeholders, humongous sums have also been spent by the government in its bid to service the country’s debts and so much had also been budgeted for debt servicing in the coming year.
On December 16, 2021, for instance, The PUNCH exclusively reported that Nigeria spent N2.49tn on debt servicing payments in the first nine months of this year, according to data from the Debt Management Office.
Meanwhile, the COMD reports of events that affected production in January 2021 showed that the 3,678,000 barrels lost due to production shut-in were recorded in eight terminals.
It named the affected terminals to include Forcados, Abo, Yoho, Agbami, Pennington, Ugo Ocha, Qua Iboe and Ima.
On some of the issues that led to crude oil loss in January, the report stated that Shell Petroleum Development Company declared a force majeure that lasted for four days.
This, it said, was due to the shutdown of Trans Forcados Pipeline as a result of community issues on January 10, 2021 over outstanding payments.
In February, a total of 17 incidents led to the shut-ins at terminals, among which include the outbreak of COVID-19 at the Abo Terminal.
It was further observed that 14 terminals recorded crude oil losses in February. They include Forcados, Abo, Akpo, Bonga, Amenam, Erha, Escravos, Brass, Egina, Bonny, Pennington, Ebok, Tulja and Ima.
The month of March witnessed 16 incidents that resulted in the loss of 3,142,000 barrels of crude oil at 10 terminals. The affected terminals include Forcados, Akpo, Erha, Brass, Egina, Bonny, Pennington, Okono, Yoho and Ima.
The NNPC explained that one of the reasons for production losses at the Forcados Terminal in March, for instance, was due to the fact that “Pan Ocean OML 147 (had to) shut-in production because of industrial action.”
The report further noted that there was production shut-in at Jisike in Brass Terminal from March 22 to April 2, 2021, adding that this was “due to industrial action by PENGASSAN (Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria).”
An analysis of the COMD report of events that affected production in April 2021 showed that 30 incidents depleted oil delivery at 13 terminals during the month under review.
The terminals were outlined as Forcados, which witnessed up to 11 incidents in April, Anyala Madu, Bonny, Ugo Ocha, Otakikpo, Abo, Sea Eagle, Usan, Agbami, Okono, Antan, Pennington and Ima.
The month of May also recorded 30 incidents that also occurred at 13 oil production terminals, which include Forcados, Anyala Madu, Bonny, Ugo Ocha, Otakikpo, Egina, Sea Eagle, Usan, Brass, Akpo, Yoho, Qua Iboe and Ima.
In one of the incidents at the Bonny Terminal in May, for instance, the NNPC said, “Eroton production was shut down due to vandalised AKOS015S wellhead and community disturbance.”
A total of 32 incidents led to the curtailment of crude oil production at 15 terminals in June last year.
The affected terminals include Forcados, Anyala Madu, Bonny, Ugo Ocha, Okono, Sea Eagle, Usan, Brass, Erha, Yoho, Qua Iboe, Agbami, Egina, Pennington and Ima.
The volume of oil lost in July stood out as the highest during the 10-month review period, as the delivery of 7,193,520 barrels of crude was stalled by 39 incidents that occured at 14 production terminals.
The terminals where these incidents occured include Forcados, Antan, Bonny, Sea Eagle, Usan, Brass, Yoho, Qua Iboe, Escravos, Akpo, Ajapa, Otakikpo, Pennington and Ima.
Further analysis of the reports from NNPC showed that 20 incidents led to the loss of the 6,680,620 barrels of crude oil recorded in August this year due to various production shut-ins.
It was also observed that eight crude oil terminals were affected in August, as production was curtailed at the facilities during the period. The affected terminals in the review month include Forcados, Sea Eagle, Brass, Yoho, Qua Iboe, Escravos, Ajapa and Otakikpo.
Explaining some of the incidents that curtailed production in one of the terminals, for instance, the NNPC said, “Energia (an oil firm) injection into Brass line (was) suspended due to pipeline damage.
“Pillar injection into Brass (was) suspended due to third party interferences on NAOC (Nigeria A grip Oil Company) Akiri pipeline.”
For the month of September, it was observed that 18 incidents warranted the loss of 6,362,700 barrels crude oil, following production shut-ins recorded in the review month.
A total of nine terminals were affected in September, including Forcados, Sea Eagle, Brass, Yoho, Qua Iboe, Escravos, Urha, Ajapa and Otakikpo.
On some of the incidents that led to the crude oil losses in September, the NNPC stated that “production (was) curtailed due to pipeline outages” at the Forcados Terminal.
It also noted that “Energia injection into Brass line (was) suspended from September 1 to 30, 2021 due to pipeline damage.”
Findings from the NNPC report of events that affected production in October 2021, however, showed that the incidents that led to crude oil production shut-ins reduced to 11 during the month.
But eight terminals were affected as the total loss recorded in October was 4,824,946 barrels of crude oil, which was the lowest among the figures posted during the three-month period.
The affected eight terminals include Forcados, Bonny, Odudu, Brass, Yoho, Urha, Ajapa and Aje.
Commenting on the development, the National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, said, “Government should deploy automated pipelines as well as latest technologies to protect oil assets.”
Also, a former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Dr, Sam Nzekwe, said, “Some of the concerns raised here can be avoided, such as issues that often lead to strikes by workers. We can’t be losing such huge sums due to production shut-ins.”
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, and the NNPC had repeatedly stated that the government was interfacing with communities in the oil region on why it was necessary to halt acts that often resulted in crude oil losses.
“The NNPC in collaboration with the local communities and other stakeholders continuously strive to reduce and eventually eliminate this menace,” the corporation had stated in one of its most recently published monthly reports.