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Nigeria Seeks 4 Million-Barrel Per Day Crude Oil Capacity

Nigeria plans to increase oil production capacity to 4 million barrels a day by 2020 and expand its crude reserves to 40 billion barrels, Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke said.

Africa’s largest oil producer also aims “in the years ahead” to boost output of liquefied natural gas by an additional 20 million metric tons a year from the current level of 26 million tons, she said in a speech delivered at Howard University in Washington, Levi Ajuonuma, a ministry spokesman, said in a statement e-mailed today and dated yesterday.

Nigeria pumped an average of 2.1 million barrels a day of oil this month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The country estimates its current crude reserves at 37 billion barrels and its gas reserves at 187 trillion cubic feet, Ajuonuma said. These figures correspond with data that BP Plc compiled for the end of 2010.

“With expansion of capacity by almost 1 million barrels per day over the next few years, Nigeria can significantly contribute to global supply additions and diversification, thereby alleviating the challenge of supply concentration around the Middle East,” the minister said in her speech.

Attacks by militant groups in the southern Niger River Delta cut the country’s crude output by more than 28 percent between 2006 and 2009, according to data gathered by Bloomberg. Disruptions eased after thousands of fighters, seeking a greater share of oil revenue for the region’s inhabitants, laid down their weapons and accepted an official amnesty.

Nigeria’s Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta refuses to disarm, saying the government hasn’t met the group’s demands for local control of the delta’s oil. MEND threatened on April 14 to mount strikes on all pipelines and energy facilities. Authorities also blame Islamist group Boko Haram for a surge of attacks since 2009 against government buildings and security forces in the mostly Muslim north and Abuja, the capital.

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