Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, surpassed Iran as the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’, OPEC, second-largest exporter in 2010 as security improved in the African nation and as Iran used more crude at home.
Nigeria shipped 2.464 million barrels a day last year, followed by Iran with 2.248 million barrels, according to OPEC’s Annual Statistical Bulletin published last week on its website. Iran’s refining capacity rose by 18 per cent last year, the biggest gain among OPEC’s 12 members, the report showed.
Energy companies in Nigeria stepped up oil output as militant attacks on installations in the Niger Delta dropped after a government amnesty to fighters in late 2009, the Department of Petroleum Resources said.
Nigeria’s oil exports rose 46 per cent to N9.15 trillion ($59 billion) last year, the National Bureau of Statistics said in April. Attacks by armed groups in the Niger Delta region, home to the nation’s energy industry, cut more than 28 per cent of oil production from 2006 to 2009, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
Iran’s crude processing capacity increased to 1.741 million barrels a day, from 1.474 million, as facilities in Abadan, Arak, Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Lavan and Bandar Abbas were expanded, compared with 2009, the data showed. In neighboring Iraq, refining capacity declined.
Nigeria shipped 2.16 million barrels a day in 2009 and Iran exported 2.232 million, according to the report. Iran was OPEC’s second-biggest producer last year, supplying 3.54 million barrels. Nigeria was the seventh-largest with 2.048 million.
Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest member, exported 6.644 million barrels a day of crude last year, of which 64 per cent was sent to the Asia and Pacific region. It produced 8.165 million barrels, less than its 2009 output of 8.184 million barrels.
Of OPEC’s 12 members, Iraq, Qatar, Algeria, Libya, Angola and Venezuela exported less in 2010 than a year earlier. All those countries except Iraq also produced less in 2010.
OPEC production averaged 29.183 million barrels a day in 2010, an increase of less than one per cent of the 28.927 million barrels a day it supplied in 2009, the bulletin showed.