Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Pipeline Bombings: Nigeria Risks Losing Oil Market to Iran

Following the incessant production outages and force majeure declared on exports of some grades of Nigerian crude oil, which have created supply uncertainty to the major buyers of Nigeria’s crude oil, mostly foreign refineries, the refineries from India to the United States are backing away from buying Nigerian oil and turning to Iran and other Middle East countries for sustainable crude oil supply.

The uncertainty about deliveries of Nigerian crude to the foreign buyers due to supply disruptions has heightened in recent months as the country squares up to the new militant group in the Niger Delta, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), which wednesday claimed it had struck Chevron-operated RMP 20 Well at Didi community in Egbema, Warri North Local Government area of Delta State.

Force majeure is a legal clause that allows crude oil producers to stop exports and cancel deliveries to customers without breaching contracts by citing unforeseen circumstances.

Shell, ExxonMobil and Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) have invoked this clause in recent weeks to avoid contractual obligations to customers who were denied supplies.

The lack of guarantee of steady supply of Nigerian crude by the IOCs has fuelled the reluctance of foreign buyers to buy Nigerian crude.

It is feared that with this development, the country may risk losing some of its customers to other rival producers, particularly Iran.

So far, crude oil supply shortfalls like those experienced in Nigeria and Libya, have been met by rising output in the Middle East, especially Iran, which has ramped up output since the end of international sanctions against the country in January.

Nigeria, which ranked as Africa’s top producer, recently lost its position to Angola after the country’s production dropped from 2.2 million barrels per day to less than 1.5 million barrels per day following production disruptions caused by the recent upsurge in militant attacks on oil and gas facilities.

The NDA has staged a number of attacks on oil installations belonging to Shell, ENI and Chevron, pushing output in Nigeria down past 20-year lows last month.

Though some oil facilities have clawed back output, the Avenger’s attacks have continued and the group has vowed to bring Nigerian production to “zero”.

While Shell declared force majeure on its exports of Bonny Light and Forcados streams, Agip declared force majeure on exports of Brass River, ExxonMobil had also declared force majeure on exports of Qua Iboe due to rig accident, which damaged a pipeline.

Reuters reported that India’s HPCL was forced last month to cancel a vessel it chartered to carry 2 million barrels of West African crude due to the Qua Iboe force majeure.

India’s state-run Indian Oil Corp. Ltd – a major buyer of Nigerian grades over the past year – has stated in its recent tenders that it would not take grades under force majeure.

Indonesia’s Pertamina, another frequent buyer, also chose not to buy Nigerian grades in its recent tenders, favouring Congolese Coco, Angolan Girassol and Saharan Blend from Algeria instead.

Traders said Pertamina had shifted its preferences since the violence and uncertainty escalated, although Daniel Purba, Senior Vice-President of ISC Pertamina, told Reuters by text message that Pertamina is “monitoring” Nigeria, but “currently it’s still not affecting crude purchasing”.

ExxonMobil, which declared force majeure on Qua Iboe in May due to an accident, lifted the declaration last week, but the unpredictability is too much for some buyers.

The reduced demand means Nigeria is not benefiting as much as others from a rebound in Brent crude prices, which is partly driven by its own oil outages.

Even refineries on the US East Coast, which have been on a buying spree for Nigerian crude in recent months that averaged 240,000 barrels per day (bpd) in April and May, according to Reuters shipping data, are beginning to turn away.

As a result, differentials to dated Brent for Qua Iboe, Bonny Light and other grades are under downward pressure. There are several unsold cargoes for June loading, even with more than half a million barrels of production missing.

Meanwhile, Chevron-operated RMP 20 Well at Didi community in Egbema, Warri North Local Government area of Delta State was the latest target of the Niger Delta militants’ attack yesterday as it was blasted, causing further disruptions to the nation’s oil production which had dipped from 2.2m bpd to 1.6m bpd in the last few weeks.


Follow us on Twitter at @thesignalng

Copyright 2015 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to and other relevant sources.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Signal-Tesslo Ad



Ten bodies were recovered Wednesday after a boat carrying more than 100 women and children broke apart on a river in northern Nigeria, a...


President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the deployment of advanced technology to tackle insecurity in the South-East. Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma, disclosed this to...


Popular Nigerian human rights activist and co-founder of the Centre for Civil Liberty, Ariyo-Dare Atoye has died. He was aged 42. Atoye died in...


Some young Nigerians besieged the Lekki Tollgate on Thursday morning,  amid heavy police presence. Nigerian artistes, Folarin ‘Falz’ Falana, and Adebowale ‘Mr Macaroni’ Adedayo,...

Copyright ©