$600m Jets’ Deal Raises US Imports Of Nigeria’s Crude

Crude imports surges to four-year monthly highest

The importation of Nigeria’s crude by the United States has hit the highest in about four years buoyed by the talks of $600 million fighter jets’ deal between the two countries. The latest data released by the U.S. agency, Energy Information Administra-tion (EIA), showed that Nigeria is now the fourth highest exporter of crude among members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to the U.S.

Washington, the EIA data revealed, imported an average of 332,032 barrels daily, translating to 10.293 million barrels of Nigeria’s crude last January. The last time the country exported close to this figure of crude barrels from Nigeria was June 2013.

This surge in Nigeria’s crude exports, which a source at the Presidency said, was linked to the talks by the Federal Government to buy fighter jets from the U.S. “The United States had agreed to sell high-tech aircraft to Nigeria to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East.

Expectedly, this would rub-off on other bilateral relationship between Washington and Abuja including purchase of more sweet crude from Nigeria,” he said. Noting that the 10.293 million barrels imports was the highest in 43 months, the EIA has picked Friday, April 28 as the date for the release of new imports data, which shows the imports in February and March. Out of 331.634 million total barrels of crude imported by the U.S., according to January figure, 64.638 million barrels came from Persian Gulf while 117.578 million came from members of the OPEC.

Non-OPEC countries exported 214.056 million barrels to the U.S in the month. “Nigeria is the fourth highest OPEC crude exporter to the U.S. during the period under review,” EIA data showed. Saudi Arabia recorded the highest exports to US with 41.696 million barrels, followed by Venezuela, which sent 23.227 million barrels of its crude to the States. Another OPEC country that sold more crude to the US in January was Iraq with 19.286 million barrels.

The United States, hitherto biggest importer of crude from Nigeria, had in June 2013, crashed imports of Nigeria’s crude to 246,500 barrels daily, dashing the Federal Government’s hope of export recovery to the US.

The document of the EIA sighted by this newspaper, which revealed this, noted that Washington had then raised its in-country production to 8.904million barrels daily. This crude output, the document added, rose for the second consecutive month last November, a period that the US reduced its imports from Nigeria to 246,500 barrels daily.

The import stood at 298,645 barrels daily in July 2015. The country consumed over one million barrels daily crude from Nigeria in March 2007, when it began to shun crude imports and focused on shale-crude production.

“The crude imports from Nigeria stood at 7.395 million barrels in November. The import was 9.258 thousand in July 2016,” the EIA document showed. Nigeria had diverted to Asia market for the sale of its oil, while it did not rule out bigger market opportunity in the US. Last December, the US imported 7.6 million barrels of crude oil from Nigeria, while Washington imported 10.293 million barrels in January, 2017, the month Donald Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States, the EIA document showed.

This is, however, a surge from its crude oil imports from Nigeria since June 2014. The report showed that in May and April 2016, the US imports from Nigeria stood at 241,000 and 218,000 per day respectively.

EIA said in its Petroleum and Other Liquids report, released at the weekend, that Canada remained the largest exporter of petroleum to the United States in June; at 3.485 million barrels per day. It noted that the second largest exporter of total petroleum was Saudi Arabia with 1.104 million barrels per day.

The top five exporting countries accounted for 77 per cent of US crude oil imports in June, while the top 10 sources accounted for approximately 93 per cent of all U.S. crude oil imports.

“The remaining top ten sources, in order, were Iraq, 434,000; Nigeria, 234,000; Ecuador, 223,000; Brazil, 159,000 and Kuwait, 135,000,” it said. It put the U.S total crude oil imports at 7.611 million barrels per day in June, which was a decrease of 335,000 per day from imports during June 2016.

The EIA said that Europe remained the largest regional importer of Nigerian crude oil. “In 2015, Europe imported slightly more than 800,000 bpd of crude oil and condensate from Nigeria, accounting for 41 per cent of Nigerian exports,” it added.

It explained that in 2015, Nigeria exported 1.98 million bpd of crude oil and condensate, according to data from Lloyd’s List Intelligence. It disclosed that India is the largest importer of Nigeria’s oil, purchasing almost 400,000 bpd or 20 per cent of Nigeria’s total crude exports in 2015.


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