Oil production in Nigeria has hit a worrying four-year low. Thieves and technical problems have caused frequent disruptions. Production has dropped to less than 1.9 million barrels a day from over 2 million barrels – the lowest rate since 2009. Meanwhile, it is estimated that over 150,000 barrels of oil are stolen on a daily basis.
As Africa’s top oil producer, Nigeria relies heavily upon oil exports, which account for over 85% of its export earnings. Any further drop in oil production will see Angola take the top spot. The country has briefly overtaken Nigeria as the top oil producer before, back in 2009 when Nigeria faced a 20-year low after oil production plummeted to 1.5 million barrels per day following violent disruptions over Nigeria’s oil industry.
Nigeria has three times more oil reserves than Angola, with 37.2 billion barrels of oil in reserves they can increase production and remain a top oil producer. In 2009 they quickly managed to regain top production levels after an arrangement was put in place with 26,000 militants, who disarmed themselves in exchange for monthly payments.
Although the violence experienced in 2009 has disappeared, the rate of oil being stolen, due to thieves hacking into pipelines, has soared. This has led to major oil producers such as Shell to cease pumping. Without a solution soon Nigeria could once again be facing serious problems.