WHY IS THE NIGER DELTA IMPORTANT FOR OIL MARKETS?
Nigeria’s Niger Delta, a network of thousands of shallow creeks opening into the Gulf of Guinea, is the heartland of Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry. The region’s light crude oil is popular among U.S. and European refineries as it can be easily processed into fuel products. The United States, the world’s top energy consumer, has said it wants the Gulf of Guinea to supply a quarter of its crude oil imports by the middle of next decade. China depends on Africa for some 30 percent of its oil imports. Nigeria also holds the world’s seventh largest proven gas reserves and supplies 10 percent of global liquefied natural gas. Attacks on Nigeria’s oil and gas infrastructure last year helped lift oil prices to record highs near $150 a barrel.
WHICH FOREIGN OIL COMPANIES OPERATE IN THE NIGER DELTA?
U.S. oil majors Exxon Mobil <XOM.N> and Chevron <CVX.N>, Royal Dutch Shell <RDSa.L>, Italy’s Agip <ENI.MI>, and France’s Total <TOTF.PA> run major oil and gas operations with Nigeria’s state-run NNPC in the Niger Delta. Insecurity in the region has forced the companies to shut down around 800,000 barrels per day of crude oil production. [ID:nLB122853] Gas supplies have also been affected. Shell’s Soku gas plant has been shut down for nearly a year because of insecurity in the region. (Reporting by Randy Fabi; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Elizabeth Fullerton) (For more Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://af.reuters.com/ )