Dwindling Crude Production: NNPC, oil firms agree on 3-month payment deferment

Dwindling crude production has forced the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to defer payments to some local petrol suppliers by at least three months.

Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer (GCEO), made the disclosure in an interview with Bloomberg in Abuja on Monday.

NNPC imports all its petrol, swapping most for crude with international traders, including Vitol Group and TotalEnergies as well as domestic groups such as Sahara Group Limited and Oando Plc.

According to Kyari, as the country’s oil production slumped, NNPC has asked local importers to permit payment delays of at least 90 days.

He said the new deals created late last year involve “a longer credit period”.

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He expressed confidence that a rebound in Nigeria’s crude production will allow the company to cover its deferred payment obligations.

Kyari said he expects the country to add 500,000 barrels a day to its output by the end of November, mainly by restarting activities on the Shell Plc-operated Forcados export terminal and Trans Niger pipeline.

“We will meet all the deliveries and still have surplus crude production for cash,” Kyari said.

“They know we can pay. Otherwise, they wouldn’t supply.”

The new contracts operate alongside the original “direct sale, direct purchase” deals, under which NNPC is expected to provide crude before traders deliver the fuel, according to the report.

The companies involved in those new contracts are Sahara, Oando, MRS Oil and Duke Oil, a subsidiary of NNPC.

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Since December, ad-hoc purchases by NNPC have accounted for 13 percent of total volumes.

NNPC imports about 1.3 million tons of petrol per month, against which it commits about 320,000 barrels a day of crude to the swaps, Bloomberg quoted the company data.

In March and April 2022, the report added that Nigeria’s fuel imports were more than 50 percent.

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