The import of Nigeria’s crude oil by the United States increased by 32.1 per cent to 52.36 million barrels in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2016.
The US Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, revealed in its latest data that the country bought a record 10.24 million barrels from Nigeria in March, the highest monthly import since July 2013.
It imported 9.78 million barrels in January; 5.96 million barrels in February; 9.16 million barrels in April; 8.69 million barrels in May and 8.53 million barrels in June.
With Bonny Light, Nigeria’s main export grade, averaging $51 per barrel in the first half of the year, the 52.36 million barrels imported by the US translate to an income of about $2.67bn for the country.
The US almost tripled the volume of crude oil bought from Nigeria last year, with the biggest monthly import of 8.43 million barrels in July. It imported 76.9 million barrels of Nigeria’s oil in 2016, up from 19.9 million barrels in 2015.
Nigeria saw significant reduction in the US imports of its crude in recent years, starting from 2012, following the shale oil production boom.
The US import of Nigeria’s crude fell to 6.17 million in June 2013 from 10.115 million barrels in May and about 40 million barrels in March 2007.
In 2014, when global oil prices started to fall from a peak of $115 per barrel, Nigeria saw a further drop in the US imports of its crude from 87.4 million barrels in 2013 to a record low of 21.2 million barrels.
For the first time in decades, the US did not purchase any barrel of Nigeria’s crude in July and August 2014 and June 2015, according to the EIA data.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported on Monday that a handful of cargoes had traded in November so far though October cargoes of Angolan and Nigerian were still lingering as demand for that month had slowed due to limited arbitrage and stronger outright prices.
There was still no sign of the Nigerian Bonny Light or Erha loading programmes for November. Bonny Light exports were still under force majeure but are expected to resume later this week as repairs on a pipeline are nearly finished.
ExxonMobil sold a cargo of Qua Iboe loading November 27-28 and a November loading cargo of Yoho, one trader said, without giving further details.