Nigeria’s losses in daily oil production due to militant attacks have hit 900,000 barrels, said Petroleum Minister Ibe Kachikwu, speaking to CNN. He added that the federal government is in talks with the militant groups responsible for this cut in production in the Niger Delta, saying that over the next couple of months, the negotiating parties will hopefully reach an agreement that will put an end to the attacks.
“We are producing some 1.5 million barrels per day and would need on average 900,000 barrels per day to catch up on what we have lost. If we can achieve peace, this will be feasible,” Kachikwu said.
This, however, would go counter to what other OPEC members are planning, or rather hoping, to do at the next informal meeting of the cartel in Algeria next month. The minister expressed doubt as to the success of such a plan, citing the meeting in Doha earlier this year, initiated by Russia, which was ready to put a cap on oil production in a bid to prop up prices, and the participants’ failure to agree on such a cap.
Attacks on production and transportation infrastructure in the Niger Delta have taken their toll on Nigeria, which used to be Africa’s biggest exporter of crude. The groups responsible for the attacks insist that local communities are being deprived of their fair share of oil revenues, left to live in poverty and pollution.
Last week, a former federal minister, Femi Fani-Kayode tweeted that Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari was basically fed up with the attacks and was ready to split the country if oil was struck in the North.
“My prayer for Nigeria is that oil is found in commercial quantities in the core north. I am glad that @MBuhari is looking for it desperately. If he finds it he and the north will be the first to call for a break up of the country. If he fails to find it they will continue to be the greatest obstacle to the restructuring of our nation and they will continue to provide the greatest opposition to the peaceful division of our country. Why? Because without southern oil the north is nothing,” the former aviation minister wrote.