* Contradicts NDPC’s statement repairs will be completed by end-June
* Current production 1.9 mil-2 mil b/d
Nigeria’s major oil export terminal, Forcados, which has been the casualty of militant attacks, could restart in a matter of weeks, oil minister Emmanuel Kachikwu said Wednesday.
But this contradicts recent statements from Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, which is the operator of the Trans Forcados pipeline, which said that the pipeline would reopen by the end of June after it was shut down in November following an attack by Niger Delta militants.
The 48-inch pipeline which connects various oil fields in the Niger Delta to the export terminal, has been largely shut for almost a year after several attacks by militants.
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Kachikwu told lawmakers in the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources that repairs to the 48-inch export pipeline were nearing completion.
“In a matter of weeks, the facility could be reopened which will further shoot up oil production to 2.2 million b/d,” Kachikwu said.
Nigerian crude oil and condensate production is currently ranging between 1.9 million and 2 million b/d and could soon reach close to 2.2 million b/d, once Forcados comes back online, sources close to the matter said.
The Nigerian export program for March currently has no loading schedule allocated for Forcados, according to trade sources.
Crude exports at the Forcados terminal, which resumed briefly in October 2016 after being out for eight months, was suspended once again after the pipeline was bombed in early November 2016.
Exports were initially suspended in early February last year after the 48-inch pipeline feeding into the Forcados terminal was bombed by the militant group Niger Delta Avengers.
Forcados, a gasoil-rich sweet crude blend, is one of Nigeria’s top export crudes averaging some 250,000 b/d of output.
The government has stepped up peace talks with Niger Delta leaders and youths to end militancy in the region.
Kachikwu also announced on Tuesday, a 20-point agenda for a lasting solution to the delta crisis, which included the allocation of marginal oil fields to natives of the region as well as contracts for the revamping of state-owned refineries.
Nigerian oil output plummeted to near 30-year lows of around 1.2 million b/d in May from 2.2 million b/d earlier this year as attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta rose at an alarming pace due to resurgent militancy.