Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nigeria oil output on 15-year high

Business Day
28 July 2011

•Expired leases, reforms, new investment stalled

Nigerian oil output has rebounded to levels not seen in years, but crucial issues after April elections remain unresolved and could have a major impact on future growth.

The boost in production has occurred thanks to relative calm in the main oil region, the Niger Delta, hit by years of militant attacks before the 2009 amnesty deal. According to OPEC’s 2010 figures, Nigeria overtook Iran as the organisations’s second-largest crude exporter.

But new investment has stalled over long-delayed reforms, expired leases for major oil firms are yet to be renewed and the relationship between the industry and the country’s oil minister has been brought into question, the AFP reports.

At the same time, the calm in the delta is a fragile one, analysts say, since it has been achieved mainly through payouts to ex-militants, with underlying issues of poverty and unemployment unaddressed.

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