Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and the 12th largest in the world. The country’s oil industry has been a major contributor to its economy, accounting for over 90% of its export earnings and about 70% of government revenue. With over 37 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, Nigeria’s oil industry is a significant player in the global market.
The top locations of crude oil in Nigeria are located in the Niger Delta region, which covers nine Nigerian states, including Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers. The Niger Delta region is home to some of the largest oil fields in Nigeria, including the Bonny oil field, which is one of the largest in the world. Other major oil fields in the region include the Forcados, Bonga, and Agbami oil fields.
Despite its vast oil reserves, Nigeria’s oil industry has faced several challenges, including environmental degradation, corruption, and security issues. These challenges have led to a decline in oil production, which has had a significant impact on the country’s economy. However, the Nigerian government has taken steps to address these challenges, including the implementation of reforms aimed at improving transparency and accountability in the sector.
HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF CRUDE OIL IN NIGERIA
Crude oil was first discovered in Nigeria in 1956 by Shell-BP in the Oloibiri community, which is now in Bayelsa state. At the time of the discovery, Nigeria was still under British colonialism. The colonial authorities of the British Crown asserted that all minerals found in the country belonged to the Crown, including crude oil.
The first drilling work started in 1958, and by 1965, Nigeria had become a major oil producer. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Nigeria was producing over 2 million barrels of crude oil per day. By 2010, the figure had increased to 4 million barrels per day. Currently, Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa, and the production of petroleum in the country plays a dominant role in the economy, with over 90% of gross earnings coming from crude oil.
The history of crude oil in Nigeria has been marked by a number of challenges, including environmental degradation, corruption, and conflicts between oil companies and local communities. Despite these challenges, the Nigerian government has continued to promote the exploration and production of crude oil in the country as a means of driving economic growth and development.
MAJOR CRUDE OIL LOCATIONS AND PRODUCTION IN NIGERIA
Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and also ranks as the 6th largest in the world, with an average daily production of 1.9 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2023. The country’s crude oil reserves are estimated at 37.1 billion barrels, making it the 10th largest oil reserve in the world.
ONSHORE OIL FIELDS
Most of Nigeria’s crude oil is produced from onshore oil fields located in the Niger Delta basin. The Niger Delta region is made up of nine oil-producing states, including Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, and Rivers. The region accounts for over 90% of Nigeria’s crude oil production.
The onshore oil fields are mostly located in the Niger Delta states, with the largest concentration in Rivers State. The EA field in Rivers State is the largest onshore oil field in Nigeria, with estimated proved crude oil reserves of 1.5 billion barrels.
STATES WHERE CRUDE OIL CAN BE FOUND IN NIGERIA
Nigeria is known for its vast reserves of crude oil and natural gas. The country has several oil-producing states, including Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Imo, and Rivers. These states are responsible for the bulk of the country’s oil production.
Abia State has over 100 oil wells and three installed flow stations. Shell holds most of the licenses for the wells in Abia, with a focus on 50 wells that it has considered high-yield. Abia produces 36,000 barrels of crude oil per day, with Imoturu producing 23,000 barrels per day, and the Isimili flow station producing over 8,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
AKWA IBOM STATE
Akwa Ibom State is the highest oil and gas producing state in Nigeria, with over 500,000 barrels produced daily. Mobil operates primarily out of the Qua Iboe Terminal in Akwa Ibom State.
Bayelsa State has one of the largest crude oil and natural gas deposits in Nigeria, although the majority of Bayelsans live in poverty. Agip operates the Brass Terminal in Brass, a town 113 kilometres southwest of Port Harcourt, and has a storage capacity of 3,558,000 barrels.
Delta State is the second major producer of oil and gas in Nigeria, with a daily output of 346,000 barrels. The state has one of the largest deposits of crude oil and natural gas in the country, and Chevron owns the Escravos Terminal located in Delta State, which has a storage capacity of 3.6 million barrels.
Edo State is the seventh-largest producer of oil and gas in Nigeria, with a daily output of 33,000 barrels. The state also produces mineral resources like limestone and quarry.
Imo State has over 163 oil wells at over 12 different locations in the state. The main petroleum companies in this state include Addax Petroleum, Chevron Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell, and Agip. Some of the oil-rich local government councils in this state include Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta, Oru East, Iho, Oru West, Obowo, and Ngor Okpala.
Lagos State is ranked sixth, with daily production estimated at 40,000 barrels. The state is the most recent addition to the list of oil-producing states, with the Federal Government approving four of the five oil-producing Aje wells in the state in 2016. Crude oil production in Lagos is just a small fraction of the revenue generated by the state each year.
Rivers State produces an estimated 344,000 barrels per day. Several multinational and indigenous oil companies are located in Port Harcourt, the administrative capital of Rivers State, including Shell Petroleum Development Company, Chevron, Total Nigeria, and Oando. After production, the next port of call is export. Currently, there are six petroleum exportation terminals in the country, which are owned by Shell, Mobil, Chevron, Texaco, and Agip.
OFFSHORE OIL FIELDS
Nigeria also has significant offshore oil reserves, with most of the offshore oil fields located in the Niger Delta region. The offshore oil fields are operated by international oil companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil, Total, and Chevron.
The offshore oil fields are located in water depths ranging from 20 to 1,500 meters. The Bonga field, located in water depths of over 1,000 meters, is the largest offshore oil field in Nigeria, with estimated proved crude oil reserves of 1 billion barrels.
Nigeria’s quarterly oil production averaged 1.8 million bpd in Q2 2023, a decrease from the 1.9 million bpd recorded in Q1 2023. The monthly oil production in September 2023 was 1.7 million bpd.
KEY PLAYERS IN NIGERIA’S CRUDE OIL INDUSTRY
Nigeria is one of the largest producers of crude oil in Africa, and the industry is dominated by a few major players. Here are some of the key players in Nigeria’s crude oil industry:
- Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC): The NNPC is Nigeria’s state-owned oil company and is responsible for managing the country’s oil and gas resources. It operates joint ventures with several international oil companies, including Chevron, Total, and ExxonMobil.
- Chevron Corporation: Chevron is one of the largest oil companies operating in Nigeria. It operates several oil fields in the country, including the Agbami field, which is one of the largest deepwater oil fields in Africa.
- Total: Total is another major player in Nigeria’s oil industry. It operates several oil fields in the country, including the Akpo and Egina fields, which are both located in deepwater offshore Nigeria.
- ExxonMobil: ExxonMobil is one of the largest oil companies in the world and operates several oil fields in Nigeria. It is a joint venture partner with the NNPC in several oil fields, including the Qua Iboe field, which is one of Nigeria’s largest oil fields.
- Royal Dutch Shell: Shell is another major player in Nigeria’s oil industry. It operates several oil fields in the country, including the Bonga field, which is one of the largest deepwater oil fields in Nigeria.
- Addax Petroleum: Addax Petroleum is a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned oil company Sinopec and operates several oil fields in Nigeria, including the OML 124 field.
- OPEC: Nigeria is a member of OPEC (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), which is a group of countries that coordinate their oil production and exports to stabilize oil prices.
- Natural Gas: Nigeria is also rich in natural gas, and several companies, including Chevron, Total, and ExxonMobil, are involved in the production and export of natural gas from Nigeria.
Overall, these key players are responsible for the majority of Nigeria’s crude oil production and exports. While there are other companies operating in Nigeria’s oil industry, these companies are the most influential and have the greatest impact on the country’s economy.
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF CRUDE OIL IN NIGERIA
Nigeria is one of the largest oil and gas producers in Africa, with crude oil production being the backbone of its economy. The petroleum industry accounts for a significant portion of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), foreign exchange earnings, and government revenue.
In 2023, the oil industry is expected to contribute 5.9 percent to the total real GDP, according to Statista. However, the contribution has decreased by roughly three percentage points compared to the previous quarter. The decrease is due to the pandemic’s impact on crude oil exports, which fell from January 2020 to March 2021.
Nigeria’s crude oil exports are an essential source of revenue for the country. In 2020, the export value of crude oil from Nigeria was estimated to be around $45 billion. The country exports crude oil to various regions worldwide, including Europe, Asia, and America. The major exportation terminals in Nigeria include the Forcados Terminal, Qua Iboe Terminal, Escravos Terminal, Brass Terminal, and Pennington Terminal.
The crude oil industry in Nigeria has a significant impact on the country’s foreign exchange earnings. The sector accounts for over 90 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings and about 80 percent of the government’s revenue. However, the country’s dependence on crude oil makes its economy vulnerable to fluctuations in oil prices.
Nigeria is not only a crude oil exporter but also a gas producer and exporter. The country has significant natural gas reserves, which it exports to Europe and other regions worldwide. The petroleum industry also provides employment opportunities for thousands of Nigerians.
REGULATION AND FUTURE OF NIGERIA’S CRUDE OIL INDUSTRY
The Nigerian crude oil industry is heavily regulated by the federal government through the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). The DPR is responsible for the issuance of licenses and contracts to concessionaires for upstream activities such as exploration, drilling, and production. The federal government also regulates downstream activities such as refining, distribution, and sales.
In November 2023, Nigeria’s crude oil industry is expected to face challenges due to the potential return of Libya and Angola to the oil market. This could lead to a decrease in demand for Nigeria’s crude oil and a reduction in revenue for the country.
To attract investment and improve the future of the industry, the Nigerian government has implemented policies to encourage local refining and reduce imports of refined petroleum products. The Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which was passed into law on August 16, 2021, is expected to spur significant reform in the industry.
The act introduced several changes to the Nigerian oil and gas regulatory landscape, including the creation of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA). These regulatory bodies will oversee the upstream, midstream, and downstream segments of the industry.
Oil producing states such as Lagos, Delta, Bayelsa, and Rivers are expected to benefit from these reforms, as they will have greater control over the resources in their respective states. However, poverty remains a significant issue in these states despite the presence of major oil companies such as Chevron Corporation.
The future of Nigeria’s crude oil industry also lies in deep water and offshore exploration, particularly in the South-South region. Akata and Owerri are two major oil fields in this region, which are expected to play a significant role in the future of the industry.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT ARE THE TOP 20 OIL COMPANIES OPERATING IN NIGERIA?
There are many oil companies operating in Nigeria, but some of the top 20 include Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Chevron Nigeria Limited, ExxonMobil Nigeria, and Total Nigeria Plc.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR OIL FIELDS IN NIGERIA?
The major oil fields in Nigeria include the Niger Delta Basin, Anambra Basin, and Benue Trough. The Niger Delta Basin is the most significant and has the highest concentration of oil fields.
WHICH STATES IN NIGERIA PRODUCE THE HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF CRUDE OIL?
The states that produce the highest percentage of crude oil in Nigeria are Delta, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom. These states are located in the Niger Delta region, which is the most significant oil-producing region in Nigeria.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CRUDE OIL EXPLORATION IN NIGERIA?
Crude oil exploration in Nigeria began in 1937 when Shell D’arcy (now Shell Petroleum Development Company) discovered oil in commercial quantities at Oloibiri in present-day Bayelsa State. Since then, Nigeria has become one of the largest oil-producing countries in the world.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS OF CRUDE OIL TO NIGERIA’S ECONOMY?
Crude oil is the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, accounting for over 90% of its foreign exchange earnings and over 80% of its government revenue. It has also created job opportunities and contributed to the development of infrastructure in the country.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR OFFSHORE OIL-PRODUCING STATES IN NIGERIA?
The major offshore oil-producing states in Nigeria are Akwa Ibom, Rivers, and Lagos. These states have significant offshore oil reserves and are home to many offshore oil fields.