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Sep 01, 2014

Revenue from Nigeria Oil Exports Tumbles in 1Q

Published: Jul 23, 2013

By Sarah Kent

LONDON--The value of Nigeria's crude oil exports tumbled 19% in the first quarter of the year compared to a year earlier, data published by the country's National Bureau of Statistics showed.

According to the data published on Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics website, exports of oil in the first three months of 2013 stood at 3,031 billion naira ($19 billion), down from NGN3,716 billion in the first quarter of 2012.

The decline highlights the difficulty Nigeria faces as it struggles to contend with declining demand from the U.S., historically the largest consumer of its crude oil, while remaining heavily dependent on revenues from oil.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer. According to the World Bank oil accounts for 75% of the country's consolidated budgetary revenues and 95% of exports.

A spokesman for National Bureau of Statistics attributed the decline to a fall in oil exports to the U.S., which historically has been a major consumer of Nigeria's oil.

"The quantity that [the U.S.] are now lifting is not what they used to lift in other years," he said.

Nigeria has had to seek new markets for its oil in recent years as it contends with the steep decline in demand in the U.S., where a boom in domestic production has seen imports of Nigeria's oil slump.

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed Nigeria exported 31 million barrels of oil to the U.S. in the first quarter of 2013, compared to 35 million barrels in the same period a year earlier.

Nonetheless, the data published by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the value of the country's oil exports to America remained the highest, followed by exports to Brazil and India.

A persistent problem with oil theft in the country's oil-rich Niger Delta has already had a significant impact on Nigeria's finances in the first quarter as production missed expectations.

In a statement published in April, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation--Nigeria's state oil company--said that the country lost about $1.23 billion in revenue as a result of lower production caused by oil theft and vandalism.

The country has also had to contend with a fall in the price of oil at the beginning of 2013 compared to the start of 2012. According to data provided by CQG, the price of international benchmark Brent crude futures traded on the IntercontinentalExchange ranged from $106.80 a barrel to $119.17 a barrel in the first quarter of 2013, compared to a price range of $108.35 a barrel to $128.40 a barrel in the same period of 2012.

The falling value of oil exports contributed to an overall decline of 31% in the value of Nigeria's exports in the first quarter of 2013 compared to a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics' report on foreign trade showed.

According to the data, the value of Nigeria's exports in the first three months of the year stood at 3,452 billion naira compared to 4,970 billion naira in same period a year earlier.

Meanwhile, a drop in exports compared to imports led to a 46% decline in the trade balance compared to a year earlier.

Write to Sarah Kent at sarah.kent@dowjones.com

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