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Nigeria’s Oil Output Drops to Less Than Half Capacity

Bloomberg.com

By Dulue Mbachu

May 21 (Bloomberg) — Nigeria’s oil output has fallen to less than half capacity because of militant attacks in the main producing region over the past three years, Petroleum Minister of State Odein Ajumogobia said.

The country is pumping 1.2 million barrels a day out of a total capacity of 3.2 million barrels a day, with Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s onshore fields worst affected by the insecurity, Ajumogobia said in remarks broadcast by the state-owned Nigerian Television Authority today.

Nigeria, the fifth-biggest source of U.S. oil imports, holds Africa’s largest hydrocarbon reserves of more than 36 billion barrels of crude and 187 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Armed groups, including the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, have attacked oil plants and pipelines in an upsurge of violence since 2006. MEND claims to be fighting for the poor in the Niger Delta region, saying they’re yet to share in its oil wealth. Criminal groups also hijack vessels and kidnap oil workers for ransom.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dulue Mbachu in Abuja, Nigeria, at[email protected]

Last Updated: May 21, 2009 03:37 EDT

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