India has increased crude oil demand from Nigeria after it stopped imports from sanction-hit Iran as new data from the country's commerce ministry showed that New Delhi has ramped up shipments from Nigeria, Venezuela, United States of America (USA), Iraq and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Overall, the country's crude oil imports in June declined 13 per cent to 16.9 metric tonnes (MT). In the three months ended June, oil imports dropped 2.29 per cent to 55.4 MT.
While oil imports from Iran ceased in June, imports rose 82 per cent from Nigeria, 26 per cent from Venezuela, 96 per cent from USA, 12 per cent from Iraq and 66 per cent from the UAE.
Interestingly, while the government-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) have stopped crude oil imports from Venezuela in the light of US sanction, private refiners continue to import crude oil from that country.
"Government-owned OMCs have stopped importing oil from Venezuela since US announced sanctions on the country's oil company PDVSA. However, it seems that private companies continue to import Venezuelan crude either directly or indirectly," an executive from one of the three OMCs requesting anonymity told ETEnergyWorld.
According to the data published by the commerce ministry, Nayara Energy-owned Vadinar Port received 1.45 MT of Venezuelan crude oil in the first three months of the current financial year compared to 0.55 MT handled in the corresponding period last year.
Similarly, Sikka Port which primarily receives and evacuates petroleum and petrochemical products for RIL's Jamnagar Refinery, handled close to one million metric tonnes of Venezuelan crude oil in the three months ended June 2019 as against 1.32 MT during the same period last year.
The RIL's port located in Jamnagar's Special Economic Zone (SEZ) handled close to 1.27 MT of Venezuelan crude oil in the first three months of the current financial year, as compared to 1.74 MT during the corresponding period a year ago
The RIL had in April said it had purchased crude originating from Venezuela from companies such as Russia's Rosneft in full knowledge of US authorities. Overall, India's share of crude oil imports from Middle Eastern countries decreased to 56.6 per cent of the total oil imports in the April-June 2019 period.
The share of oil imports from African countries increased to 16.8 per cent in the first three months of 2019.
Kyari Highlights Export Potential Of Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline
Meanwhile, the group managing director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has highlighted the benefits of the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) Project, saying that it would open new vistas for Nigeria's gas aspirations.
Kyari spoke on Tuesday at a stakeholders' engagement between the corporation, its Moroccan partners on the gas project, the Morocco National Office for Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM), and the executives of international oil companies operating in Nigeria at the NNPC Towers.
The meeting was sequel to high-level discussions on the Pipeline Cooperation Agreement (PCA) for the NMGP project signed between both countries during separate visits by their leaders, President Muhammadu Buhari and King Hassan VI.
The PCA is expected to facilitate the establishment of a gas pipeline to supply the product from Nigeria to Morocco and the West African sub-region and further into Europe.
The two countries plan to extend the pipeline that has been pumping gas from Nigeria to Benin, Togo and Ghana since 2010 to Morocco.
Shortly after the engagement with the representatives of the multinationals, Kyari described the project as strategic to the country, adding that it would provide market for Nigerian gas.
He said: "We have a lot of stranded gas particularly in the deep water that we need to put on the table. This project will enable us have more gas into our domestic sector so that we can improve power supply and gas to industry," Kyari stated.
The NNPC boss explained that along the pipeline's corridor to Morocco and into Europe, there was a huge potential for development of the West African sub-continent and part of North Africa.
"By doing this, we are also growing the economies of these countries along this pipeline and eventually ensuring peace and security which are necessary for the economic growth of these nations," he added.
Kyari, who restated the federal government's commitment to the project, reassured the IOCs that issues around fiscal terms were being handled. He, therefore, enjoined them to be part of the project as a matter of responsibility.
Earlier in her remarks, the director-general of the ONHYM, Amina Benkhadra, assured NNPC of the Moroccan government's support for the project, stressing that the IOCs needed to be carried along to speed up the project because they are critical to it.
Similarly, the NNPC GMD has urged the management of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) to look beyond the execution of the much-awaited Final Investment Decision (FID) on Train-7 billed for October 2019.
Receiving top-level NLNG management team, led by its managing director, Engr. Tony Attah, at the NNPC Towers on Tuesday, Kyari charged the company to consider the October Train-7 FID on the project as a done deal. He said that the focus should be on "what else can we do beyond Train7 to expand NLNG operations."
The eight Million-Tonne Per Annum (MTPA) Train -7 project is designed to expand the company's production from 22 to 30 MTPA.
Kyari assured the NLNG of the commitment of the federal government and the NNPC management to the expansion drive of NLNG, saying that all obstacles that could impede the actualisation of the Train-7 FID project should be promptly identified and addressed ahead of the October 2019 timeline.
Attah, in his presentation, applauded the historic role of the NNPC in the successful midwife of NLNG, 30 years ago through sheer vision and sense of purpose.
The NLNG MD said that the company would rely on the invaluable support of the corporation to achieve the successful execution of the Train-7 FID project and lots more.
He said that the project would generate 12,000 jobs with massive spine-offs on Nigeria's economy.