By ’Femi Asu
NIgeria has become the ninth supplier of crude oil to the United States, from 15th and 12th positions in 2014 and 2015, respectively, according to the the latest data from the US Energy Information Administration has showed.
Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela are the top three sources of crude imports to the US, followed by Mexico, Colombia, Russia, Iraq, and Kuwait.
Angola, which recently became Africa’s top oil producer, supplied the same quantity as Nigeria to the US in July.
The US imports of Nigerian crude oil hit a 2016 high of 272,000 barrels per day in July, the biggest volume since July 2013. The country bought 234,000 bpd in June, down from 241,000 bpd the previous month.
In July 2014, the country’s imports of Nigerian crude plunged to as low as 61,000 bpd as shale oil production surged, the EIA data showed.
The US bought an average of 81,000 bpd from Nigeria in 2015, down from 91,000 bpd in 2014; 281,000 bpd in 2013; 441,000 bpd in 2012 and 1.02 million in 2010.
According to the EIA, the US gross crude oil imports increased by 528,000 bpd, or seven per cent, during the first half of 2016, compared to the first half of 2015.
It said the increase reversed a multi-year trend of decreasing US crude oil imports as a result of increasing US production.
“Imports from Nigeria, Iraq, and other members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries rose by 504,000 bpd,” the agency said in a report on its website.
It said as a result of shifting price, supply, and logistics, East Coast crude imports rose by 244,000 bpd (41 per cent) in the first half of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015, nearly three-quarters of which were supplied by Nigeria.
The EIA noted that Nigerian production actually declined during the first half of 2016 as a result of elevated supply disruptions.
“However, falling US production and increasing competitiveness for seaborne light sweet crude into the East Coast more than offset lower production levels, enabling imports from Nigeria to displace crude oil received from the Midwest,” it said.
The agency said changes in crude oil price spreads were a significant factor in the rise of the US oil imports during the first half of 2016, adding that the narrowing price differences between the US crude and international benchmarks provided an incentive for increased imports by refiners in areas where imported crude now had a delivered cost advantage relative to similar domestic crude.
It also said lower overall crude prices contributed to a decline in the US crude production from an average of 9.5 million bpd in the first half of 2015 to 9.0 million bpd in the first half of 2016, resulting in higher net crude oil imports.
The report stated, “Gulf Coast imports increased 88,000 bpd (three per cent), with rising imports from Middle East and African countries offsetting declines from Latin America.”
Nigeria’s oil production has risen to 1.9 million bpd after plummeting to near 30-year lows of around 1.6 million bpd in August as a result of the upsurge in militant attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta.
“We have built capacity of up to 2.4 million bpd, but [we are] currently producing about 1.9 million bpd,” the Special Adviser on International Energy Relations to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Omar Farouk, said on the Twitter handle of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources this week