Indications emerged on Friday that the European Union could turn to Nigeria and other oil-producing countries for oil supplies as part of moves to approve an embargo on Russian oil.
The New York Times reported on Friday that the oil embargo would be staggered over a period of a few months.
Citing EU officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, the newspaper said the new resolution is expected to be approved by EU ambassadors next week as part of plans to avoid delays.
The EU resolution comes amid new assessments that Russia’s military offensive in the east is running out of steam amid plans to provide Ukraine with more weapons and support.
With about a quarter of Europe’s annual oil needs coming from Russia, European countries are heavily dependent on Russia for their supply. But officials said the syndicate was looking elsewhere for oil supplies.
“As the oil embargo is gradually put in place, officials said the bloc would seek to fill the gap by increasing imports from other sources, such as Persian Gulf countries, Nigeria, Kazakhstan and the United States. ‘Azerbaijan,” The New York Times reported on Friday, citing officials.
Since the invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, the EU embargo, if enacted, will be the most important new step in the EU’s sixth sanctions package against Russia.
The new sanctions will also be directed against Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, according to officials who spoke to The New York Times.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, has faced oil production problems in recent months. The country has had to shut down a number of its oil wells to keep criminals at bay, Zainab Ahmed, the country’s finance minister, said in a recent interview with Bloomberg TV.
Ms. Ahmed said that when the wells open, Nigeria will reach its production quota of 1.6 million barrels of crude per day (mbpd).
For many months, Nigeria produced 20% less than its capacity due to oil bunkering and other criminal activities.
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Amid rising oil prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Nigeria has struggled to meet its Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota of 1.73 mbpd ).
the OPEC the Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) for April 2022 showed the country’s oil production fell by 20,000 barrels per day (tbpd) in March to 1.24 million bpd from 1.26 million in February 2022.
The country also saw a 24,000 bpd drop in oil production to 1.35 million bpd in March from 1.38 million bpd the previous month.
As the EU looks to Nigeria and other countries for supplies, expectations are high for improved production from all oil wells in the country.
Nigeria relies heavily on crude oil sales to repair infrastructure, service debts and earn foreign currency that would allow its monetary policy makers to fight inflation.
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