Profile of an Oil Producer: Nigeria
The Federal Republic of Nigeria, tucked up in Africa’s western curve, is the continent’s leading oil producer. It is here – in the Niger delta where a web of shallow waterways spills into the Gulf of Guinea – where international oil companies have set up shop, despite being generally ill-received by local tribes and militant groups who claim the intrusion has been environmentally, politically and economically devastating.
Nigeria is the world’s eighth biggest exporter of oil, with an installed production capacity of 3 million barrels per day (bpd). But its number of barrels produced tends to fluctuate more rapidly and severely than other nations’ because of internal turmoil.
Like elsewhere, Nigeria has been affected by weak global oil demand. In April 2009, their output dropped to 1.2 million bpd and recovered to 1.6 million bpd by mid-May. But Nigeria’s militant groups—especially the main one, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND)—have knocked down oil production and increased violence in the last few years. On May 15, 2009, MEND said that they are declaring an “all-out war” and will blockade key waterways in the area to try to prevent crude oil exports. This comes after days of military helicopter and gunboat raids on its camps, according to Reuters.