Higher Oil Prices By End Of 2017 Could Lift Nigeria’s Economy
Nigeria, the second biggest oil producer in Africa, is likely to enjoy increased earnings from its exports by the end of 2017, when global prices are expected rise to $60 per barrel, an increase that will boost the nation’s struggling economy.
Global oil prices fell from a peak of $115 per barrel in June 2014 to below $35 in February last year before recovering to $ 50 per barrel in December.
“I am hoping that we are heading towards $60 per barrel and I don’t see higher than that,” Gulf News quoted Emmanuel Kachikwu, the country’s Oil minister, as saying.
Kachikwu added that the West African nation production rose from a daily production of 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in early 2016 to the current 1.6 million and expects the output to hit 2.1 million by end of January.
The current production is the lowest since June 2007.
The nation’s output fell close to a 22-year low in May, following attacks by militants in the oil-rich region of Niger Delta, who damaged gas and oil pipelines and forced Chevron to shut its facility in Okan.
The government is negotiating with the militants.
Kachikwu said increased security by government forces in the region and the engagements with the militants who are demanding greater share of the oil-revenue will stabilize production this year, Gulf News reported.
In November, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) exempted the nation from a production cut of about 2.1 bpd due to the damage on its oil and gas infrastructure, Vanguard News reported.
Nigeria’s economy, which earns about 80 percent of its foreign revenue from crude oil exports, is facing its worst crisis in 25 years.
It slumped into recession in August, as the global fall in oil prices hit various sectors.
Naira, the national currency, hit a record low against the dollar and a shortage in foreign currency scared investors from Africa’s second biggest economy, leading to massive job cuts as companies struggled to pay for imports and salaries.
International airlines, Iberia Air of Spain and United of the US stopped flights to the nation in June, while Emirates Airlines of Qatar and Kenya Airways suspended flights to the capital, Abuja in October and November respectively.
The blocking of more than $600 million in air ticket sales prompted the airlines to stop operations into Nigeria.