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oil-r123ABUJA: Nigerian oil production hit its highest level ever this week, reaching 2.7 million barrels per day, the state oil firm said Friday, though hurdles remain to a sustained boost in production.

Nigeria, home to Africa's largest oil industry, has seen crude production rebound since a 2009 amnesty deal for militants in the Niger Delta region which led to a sharp decline in unrest there.

It has been producing between 2.0 and 2.4 million barrels per day in recent months, according to figures from the International Energy Agency. The head of state oil firm NNPC said production reached 2.7 mbd on Wednesday.

"I am glad to report to you that in crude oil production (on Wednesday) we recorded an all-time high of 2.7 million barrels. This has not been recorded before," Andrew Yakubu said in a statement.

Besides the improvement in security, French firm Total recently began long-awaited production at its offshore Usan field, with a capacity of 180,000 barrels per day.

But new investment has been limited in recent years in Nigeria due to uncertainty over a proposed sweeping overhaul of the oil industry that has been long in the works.

President Goodluck Jonathan forwarded a new version of the legislation to parliament in July.

Sabotage and oil theft in the Niger Delta region to feed a lucrative black market also continues to be a major problem.

Shell, historically Nigeria's largest producer, said in April that there have been estimates that 150,000 barrels per day of oil and condensate is stolen in the country.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012