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Libya Surpasses Nigeria as Africa’s Top Crude Oil Producer

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TRIPOLI, Libya – Libya has overtaken Nigeria as the continent’s highest crude oil producer.

According to the latest data from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, Libya’s crude oil output rose to 1.236 million barrels per day (bpd) in March 2024, marking a 5.4 percent increase from 1.173 million bpd in February 2024.

Conversely, Nigeria saw its production decrease by 6.8 percent, dropping to 1.23 million bpd in March from 1.32 million bpd in February, as detailed in OPEC’s April 2024 Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR).

The report highlighted contrasting figures based on primary and secondary sources. While official sources noted Libya’s ascendancy, secondary sources suggested Nigeria retained a slight edge, with a production level of 1.398 million bpd compared to Libya’s 1.161 million bpd during the same period.

OPEC’s report also revealed that the overall OPEC-12 crude oil production averaged 26.60 million bpd in March 2024, a minor increase from the previous month.

The production rise was primarily seen in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Gabon, and Kuwait, while notable declines were recorded in Nigeria, Iraq, and Venezuela.

In response to the fluctuating production levels, the Nigerian government has expressed concern over the oil industry’s capacity to meet domestic obligations, particularly in supplying local refineries.

At a recent meeting to review the Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation as stipulated under Section 109(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act of 2021, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, emphasized the importance of prioritizing local refineries.

Komolafe stated, “Producers should satisfy their domestic crude oil supply to the domestic refineries so that, as a nation, we seize the opportunity to reverse the ugly trend by ensuring that we develop our midstream and end up being a net exporter of petroleum products, especially now that we are trying to exit the subsidy regime. The only way to sustain that is to become robust in our domestic refining capacity.”

This development comes at a critical time for Nigeria as it aims to boost its refining capacity and reduce dependency on imported refined products, aligning with broader goals to enhance economic stability and energy security in the region.

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