Nigeria's Oil Production Tops 2.5MM B/D

Nigeria's crude production has risen to 2.5 million barrels per day following the amnesty program to militants operating in oil rich Niger Delta region,a top official has said.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) was producing about 1.7 mmbpd in the heat of repeated militant attacks on the nation's oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta region before President Yar's Adua struck the amnesty deal.

Mohammed Barkindo, group managing director of the state own corporation, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday when Chief of Defense Staff Paul Dike visited the company. The current production figure had not been seen in the last seven years, he said.

"Gas production is also gradually recovering and there is improvement in the generation of electricity," the official said. "For the first time since May last year, two of our inland refineries in Warri and Kaduna are now producing at optimal level, " he added.

According to him, the collaboration between the company and the military was necessary, particularly at this time when government was more than ever determined to proceed with the reform in the oil and gas sector, particularly the deregulation of the downstream sector. Earlier, Dike said the military would continue to support the oil and gas sector to cut down on acts of vandalism, noting that the importance of oil in national development could be under- emphasized.

In June 2009, the Nigerian government offered an amnesty to gunmen in the oil rich Niger Delta region, urging them to lay down their weapons by Oct. 4 in a bid to end the unrest which has cost Africa's top oil exporter billions of dollars in lost revenue.

More than 8,000 Nigerian armed youths gave up their weapons and embraced amnesty offered by the Nigerian government in the most concerted effort yet to end years of fighting in the oil-rich producing region.

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