Production of Qua Iboe Crude, Nigeria’s largest crude oil stream, has dropped to its lowest level for the first time since 2010. According to the latest crude/condensate production by streams data obtained from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) shows that output of the crude collapsed by about 41 percent from 135 million barrels in 2010 to 79 million barrels in 2016, the year militant attacks cut Nigeria’s production to its lowest in decades.
The industry regulator’s annual activity report on the Nigerian oil and gas industry, (DPR 2016 Oil and Gas Annual Report), shows that production of Qua Iboe, which averaged around 375,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2010, fell to about 220,000 bpd in 2016. from an output of 350,000 barrels per day (bpd). in 2015.
Qua Iboe is a light crude that produces high quality, low sulfur products which require simple refining, it is produced from numerous offshore fields 20 to 40 miles South East of Nigeria and volumes are brought to shore via a seabed pipeline system to the Qua Iboe Terminal (QIT) located on the eastern side of the Qua Iboe River. ExxonMobil operates the field where Qua Iboa is produced and holds 40 percent interest while the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) owns the remaining 60 percent.
The data indicate that Agbami crude production dropped in 2016, displacing Qua Iboe as the highest crude oil grade produced with 84 million barrels to 79 million barrels of Qua Iboe Crude in 2016. While prolonged Attacks by militants on facilities operated by ExxonMobil, Shell, and other operators led to the declaration of force majeure on Qua Iboe Crude grade by ExxonMobil. Nigeria produces over 26 different crude oil grades, but Qua Iboe Light, Bonny Light, Agbami, Forcados Blend and Escravos Light have remained five of the main and largest streams produced over the years.
The outages of Qua Iboe and other streams led the cut in Nigeria’s output to around 1.2 million bpd, the lowest output since 1970.