By Adedapo Adesanya
Demand for Nigeria’s crude oil in March 2020 dropped by 6.8 million barrels due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy.
This was disclosed by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, on Wednesday morning during an interview on Channels Television.
Mr Kyari, during Sunrise Daily, noted that global demand had fallen with the spread of the pandemic, adding that other economies too felt the impact of the drop in demand.
Speaking of how Nigeria’s crude was faring at the international market, he said, “Well, it is doing badly but it is improving. Last week, it went down to close to $15 per barrel but as I speak this morning, we are at $32.79 to a barrel.
“So, we think with all the engagements going on, countries going back to work like in Europe means consumption will come back, demand will rise because we have lost about 6.8 million barrels of demand in March alone.
“And when things come back, the market will balance and make sure that the market recovers.”
“I am sure you are aware of all the engagements that have gone on in internationally with OPEC, producers and the partners to make sure that there is balance,” Mr Kyari added.
Despite the falling demand, Nigeria increased its daily production of crude and a light oil called condensate to 2.5 million barrels per day for the month of April.
Mr Mele Kyari, in an interview on a programme on Africa Independent Television (AIT) on Monday, noted that the country was looking to expand this further to 3 million barrels as OPEC and other non-OPEC producers are set to meet on Thursday to find a way to stabilise a market facing demand woes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Many have warned that crude futures could plunge to single-digit lows if major oil producers fail to reach a deal to cut output, as projections show that a continuous fall in demand and an increase in supply could result in more than 20 million barrel per day of excess oil which will put the oil market under extreme pressure.
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