Following the rally in global crude oil prices, Nigeria has recorded a significant increase in oil export revenue as the country earned an estimated $26bn in the first seven months of this year.
The country saw its oil export revenue rise by 30 per cent to $34bn in 2017 from $26bn in 2016, according to the new OPEC Revenues Fact Sheet released by the Energy Information Administration on Tuesday.
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, had the sixth biggest revenue in the 15-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and the lowest per capital oil revenue last year.
Its rival, Angola, which earned an estimated $31bn in 2017, had a per capital oil revenue of $532. The southern African country earned $21bn in the first seven months of this year.
The global oil benchmark, Brent crude, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, rose to $66.87 per barrel at the end of 2017 from around $53 per barrel at the start of the year.
The increase in oil prices continued in 2018, with Brent climbing above $80 per barrel on May 17 for the first time since November 2014. It stood at $74.29 per barrel as of 4:00pm Nigerian time on Wednesday.
The US EIA estimated that members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries earned about $567bn in net oil export revenues (unadjusted for inflation) in 2017.
It said the 2017 net oil export revenues increased by 29 per cent from the $441bn earned in 2016, mainly as a result of the increase in average annual crude oil prices during the year and the increase in OPEC net oil exports.
Saudi Arabia accounted for the largest share of total OPEC earnings, $167bn in 2017, representing nearly one-third of total OPEC oil revenues.
“EIA expects that OPEC net oil export revenues will rise to about $736bn (unadjusted for inflation) in 2018, based on forecasts of global oil prices and OPEC production levels in EIA’s August 2018 Short-Term Energy Outlook,” the report said.
The statistical arm of the US Department of Energy, said, “On a per capita basis, OPEC net oil export earnings are expected to increase by 27 per cent, from $1,147 in 2017 to $1,459 in 2018.
“The expected increase in OPEC’s net export earnings is attributed to higher forecast annual crude oil prices in 2018 compared with 2017 despite expected lower output during 2018.”
EIA’s August 2018 STEO forecast that OPEC crude oil production will average 32.3 million barrels per day in 2018, 0.3 million bpd lower than in 2017.
“For 2019, OPEC revenues are expected to be $719bn, as a result of lower forecast crude oil prices. Slightly lower OPEC production and exports also contribute to the decline in expected earnings,” it said.
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Kukah, last week, raised concern over the way the nation’s crude oil revenue had been used in the last 60 years, saying the country had yet to achieve major development with the revenue.
Kukah stated this in Lagos at a lecture organised in commemoration of the 60th birthday of the Chief Executive Officer, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Mr Austin Avuru.
He said, “I think the critical question is: what did we do with our oil? Today, we are a country that cannot feed ourselves. Today, we are a country that cannot provide education for our children. Today, we have become a country that is unable to generate and distribute electricity. Today, we have become a country that cannot provide railway lines.
“Many people have referred to oil as a curse, but my argument is that this is an illusion; I don’t believe that oil is a curse. Having oil intrinsically was never really meant to be a curse. I think what is most important is what we have done with our oil. Perhaps it has shut the creativity part of our brains.”