By Femi Adekoya and Saxone Akhaine
A cargo of Nigeria’s distillate-rich Bonga crude is due to move to the United States (U.S.) from the May loading programme, traders have disclosed, after a near six-month hiatus.
According to U.S. Customs data, the last cargo of Bonga arrived in the U.S. in December. Over the course of 2018, US imports of Bonga dropped to 36,272 b/d in December from 112/532 b/d in January.
Bonga, which has a gravity of 29.4 API and sulfur content of 0.25 per cent, is known for yielding a high percentage of gasoil and distillates.
“Bonga is a bit special, as it is the only grade that has seen interest from the US Gulf Coast recently, particularly given that Nigerian exports into the US decreased dramatically over the last year,” a crude trader said.
This came as Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, said that oil exploration in northern part of country will continue to boost the supply chain of petroleum products when the mission is completed.
Baru, who spoke during the 40th edition of the Kaduna International Trade Fair, said that the oil exploration in the North would enable the NNPC do a massive appraisal of the discovery of gas reserves in 1999 in the region.
According to the NNPC boss, President Muhammadu Buhari has personally urged the corporation to go back to exploration on the Kolmani River II Well and drilling had been going on smoothly, adding: “As of yesterday morning (Wednesday), the corporation had dug 10,075 ft deep with a target to reach 14,270 ft exploration.”
He said: “The main purpose of this well is to start some massive appraisal of the discovery that was made way back in 1999 of some gas reserves in Kolmani River 1 and so far, the drilling has been going on smoothly to enable exploration.”
Meanwhile, with only 18 per cent of total gas produced utilised locally, the Federal Government has advocated increase in volume made available for power generation and utilisation in industrial firms, especially as almost half of the domestic volume (seven per cent) is flared daily.
Chief Operating Officer, Upstream of the NNPC, Bello Rabiu, while speaking on upstream opportunities at the Nigeria Oil and Gas Forum in Yenagoa yesterday, said more gas needed to be sent to the domestic market for power generation to address constraints in the sector.