Export of the nation’s crude oil fell by 14.6 per cent in June to 58.62 million barrels, the lowest level so far this year, the latest monthly report from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has shown.
In January, 68.66 million barrels of Nigerian crude oil were snapped up by buyers including India, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa, among others.
Four regions namely, Europe, Asia and Far East, South America and Africa remain the major destinations of Nigerian crude and condensate export, the NNPC said.
In June, imports of Nigerian crude from the Asian region, which is now increasingly a major target market for many oil exporters amid sustained oil price decline, dropped to 9.80 million barrels, the lowest level in recent months.
Asian buyers bought 23.21 million barrels of Nigerian crude in April, up from 13.22 million barrels in March, 14.86 million barrels in February and 16.28 million barrels in January.
India, the single largest importer of Nigerian crude, saw its import of the country’s crude rise to 20.37 million barrels in April. But it only purchased 8.85 million barrels in June.
Nigeria’s total oil exports stood at 61.72 million barrels in May, down from 63.99 million barrels in April, according to the NNPC.
The country’s oil exports fell to 62.68 million barrels in March from 64.90 million barrels recorded in February.
Europe continued to be the largest regional importer of Nigerian oil as its imported 31.48 million barrels in June, up from 31.23 million barrels in January. The region’s import of the country’s crude rose to 31.88 million barrels in April, down from 27 million barrels in March.
The United States, which had significantly reduced its import of Nigerian crude following its shale oil boom, bought 2.63 million barrels of the country’s crude in June, up from 948,827 barrels in May, 1.92 million barrels in February and 1.96 million barrels in January.
In March and April this year, the country did not import a single barrel from Nigeria.
The US imports of Nigerian crude oil tumbled by 75 per cent last year to 21.51 million barrels year-on-year, the lowest since the country started importing from Nigeria, according to the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the US Department of Energy.
Crude oil exports account for over 90 per cent of the Nigeria’s exports and remain the key source of foreign currency.
China’s Ambassador Gu Kiaojie however said his country’s crude oil importation from Nigeria has been steady in the last five years.
Gu said that contrary to insinuations, “China’s oil import from Nigeria remains steady”.
“For the past four to five years China has never reduced the volume of crude oil importation from Nigeria, the volume remains stable,” he said.
The Chinese envoy, who described the current trend in the crude oil market as a global phenomenon, also said the global oil market was weak.
He blamed the trend on weak global economy and the market forces of demand and supply, though he admitted that China is not a major crude oil importer in the world.
“China steadily purchases between two to three per cent of total global Nigerian crude oil export,” he said.
He advised Nigerians to redouble their efforts in looking inward and see what they can produce locally rather than relying on importation.
Apart from crude oil, Gu also said that China imports commodities like iron ore, soya beans from Nigeria on regular basis.
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