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By Paul Carsten
ABUJA, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s oil production, excluding condensates, was slightly below 1.8 million barrels per day in July, the country’s oil minister said on Thursday.
Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, speaking on the sidelines of an event in the capital, Abuja, said there had been issues with aging pipelines.
“We continue to have challenges, some of our pipelines are old, so these are basically technical. They are not militancy-induced stoppages, but they are basically maintenance-induced stoppages,” he said.
Nigeria’s oil output has rebounded this year, aided by government efforts to placate militants in the Niger Delta region where the bulk of the country’s crude is produced, but it has struggled to maintain peak output levels.
Crude production in the country was cut by more than a third last year when militants carried out a series of attacks on energy facilities in the southern Niger Delta oil hub.
The country’s crude oil exports are expected to fall to 1.72 million barrels per day in October, according to loading programmes.
When asked whether Nigeria would agree to join OPEC’s production cap at the group’s November meeting, the minister said: “I can’t disclose that.”
OPEC has agreed with several non-OPEC producers led by Russia to cut oil output by a combined 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from January 2017 until the end of March 2018. OPEC members Libya and Nigeria were exempted from the limits to help their oil industries recover from years of disruptions.
The minister said condensates contributed 450,000 bpd to Nigeria’s production in July. (Reporting by Paul Carsten; Writing by Ulf Laessing and Alexis Akwagyiram, editing by David Evans and Jane Merriman)