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YENAGOA: Nigeria's refineries processed 10 million barrels of crude oil in the first quarter, more than they did for the whole of 2015, after talks with militants reduced attacks on facilities, the head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said.

OPEC member Nigeria has a refining capacity of 445,000 barrels per day (bpd) but imports most of its fuel as its three refinery plants have been shut or are running at reduced capacity due to years of neglect, vandalism and theft on pipelines.

"Refining activities peaked at 10 million barrels of crude oil in the first quarter," said NNPC Group Managing Director Maikanti Baru said in a statement.

That compared with just 8 million barrels for all of 2015 and 24 million for the whole of last year, Barus said during a presentation to a team from the UK's Royal College of Defence Studies.

Last year's militancy in the southern Niger Delta region cut crude output by as much as a third, but there has been a lull in attacks this year.

Baru said that was due to government peace talks with community groups in the region.

Militants said they carried out the attacks because they wanted a greater share of Nigeria's energy wealth to go to the impoverished Niger Delta.

The 10 million barrels processed in the first quarter equates to around 111,000 barrels per day (bpd), or around 25 percent of capacity.

Italian oil company Eni plans to build a crude refinery in Nigeria with a capacity of 150,000 barrels a day through its Agip subsidiary, the minister of state for petroleum said last week.

 

Copyright Reuters, 2017
 

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