By Heather Murdock
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil exporter and 5th largest supplier to the United States, appears to be growing more productive.
After months of reports that theft has been costing the oil industry as much as $1 billion a month, and causing most of the oil spills devastating the Niger Delta region, officials say output is increasing.
“Yesterday we recorded an all-time high of 2.7 million barrels of crude-oil production, and these numbers have never been achieved before,” said Andrew Yakubu, group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, who attributes the increase to government efforts to protect pipelines and stop black-market oil trading.
Security forces say they focused this year’s Niger Delta policing efforts on protecting oil facilities, declaring that militant groups who fought there between 2003 and 2009 are no longer operational.