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Reuters: Nigerian May oil output recovers to 2.29 mbpd

LAGOS, July 20 (Reuters) – Nigerian oil output recovered to 2.29 million barrels per day (mbpd) in May, up 6.1 percent from an upwardly revised figure of 2.15 mbpd for the previous month, the central bank said on Thursday.

Output of crude oil, condensate and natural gas liquids in Africa’s top producer has been recovering steadily since a series of militant attacks in February which forced Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) to close oilfields producing 500,000 bpd.

The central bank said in its May monthly economic report that oil production totalled 70.99 million barrels in May, compared with 64.50 million barrels in April.

The report did not give any reason for the increase.

The reduction from Shell’s oilfields in the western Delta has been steadily compensated by new production from offshore developments, including Shell’s Bonga field and ExxonMobil’s (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Erha.

Having averaged 2.53 mbpd in 2005, Nigerian oil output hit a recent low of 2.04 mbpd in March after the attacks. The government hopes to reach 3.0 mbpd by the end of the year if Shell’s output is restored.

Nigeria has a current OPEC quota of 2.3 mbpd, which excludes output of condensate and natural gas liquids, of which Nigeria produces about 100,000 bpd.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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