Angola is a better option than Nigeria: IOC

Vol 14, PW 13 (16 Dec 10) People & Policy

Sterling may be getting excited about exploration in Nigeria (see above) but state-owned refiner IndianOil finds the West African nation a little too thrilling.

PETROWATCH learns IOC is getting worried about its dependence on Nigerian crude oil imports, especially as it gears up to commission its 15m t/y Paradip refinery in Orissa by March 2012. So IOC is turning its eyes to neighbouring Angola instead.

“Nigeria is a major source (of crude supplies) for us,” BN Bankapur, IOC director refineries, tells this report. “But recurring Force Majeure announcements at its oil production facilities are a big problem.

” Escalating violence in Nigeria, adds Bankapur, is blamed for the supply restrictions. “Armed gangs target oil facilities creating havoc.

” On November 16 (last month), ExxonMobil’s facilities in Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom state were attacked by gunmen who also blew up an oil rig and abducted eight workers, forcing operations to grind to an abrupt halt. Days later on November 19, a Shell crude pipeline in southern Nigeria was attacked, forcing Shell to declare Force Majeure for its ‘bonny-light’ crude oil shipments.

“Supply security is very important while sourcing crude,” adds Bankapur. “Because of what is happening in Nigeria, we are trying to widen our ‘supply basket’ and are considering Angolan crude oil imports as one alternative.

” OPEC member Angola, with total crude oil production of 1,820,000 b/d, toppled violence-prone Nigeria as Africa’s leading crude producer in 2009, and is also now the world’s seventh largest crude producer. Angola currently accounts for up to 5% of India’s total crude imports but Nigeria accounts for nearly 8%.

In 2009-10, Nigeria and Angola together exported 32.9m tonnes of crude oil to India. As a crude supplier to India, Africa is second only to West Asia (Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc) which supplied 103.698m tonnes last fiscal.