Nigeria's oil production has risen to 1.9 million b/d, the oil ministry said Tuesday, even as the government has begun moves for all-inclusive talks with Niger Delta leaders to end militancy in the region and bolster oil production.
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"We have built capacity of up to 2.4 million b/d, but [we are] currently producing about 1.9 million b/d," Omar Farouk, the special adviser on international energy relations to Nigeria's oil minister of state, said on the ministry's twitter handle.
Farouk said Nigeria was in urgent need of new investments to increase its reserve base and output.
"Nigeria has produced over 10 billion barrels of oil since the year 2000. However, we have not discovered this much in the same period," he said.
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Nigerian oil output plummeted to near 30-year lows of around 1.5 million-1.6 million b/d in August, according to government estimates, from 2.2 million b/d earlier in the year as attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta rose at an alarming pace amid resurgent militancy.
The sharp drop in oil production has severely hurt Nigeria's economy, already exacerbated by the slump in global oil prices.
Militant group Niger Delta Avengers, responsible for most of the attacks on oil facilities that cut Nigerian production by more than 700,000 b/d, said late in September it was abandoning its ceasefire announced September 2 over what it said was the Nigerian government's failure to respond to its peace overtures.
Some other militant groups, including the self-styled Greenland Justice Mandate, have been carrying out pockets of attacks on pipelines operated by state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.
A presidential aide confirmed Tuesday that a government team would commence on October 31 talks with "all stakeholders in the Niger Delta region," including community leaders and youth organizations, to end the attacks on oil installations.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said on October 10 that the peace talks had not got off the ground, because the government was trying to identify the actual leaders and groups to negotiate with.
NNPC and oil ministry officials have said they expect the country's oil output to climb to around 2 million b/d by the end of this year.
--Edited by Geetha Narayanasamy, email@example.com