Buhari’s change of approach in Niger Delta boosts nation’s oil output


When militants in Nigeria’s southern Niger River delta started attacking oil installations, President Muhammadu Buhari promised to crush them by force. A year and $7 billion in lost oil exports later, his decision to switch tack by negotiating with the fighters seems to be working, Bloomberg reports.

All but one force majeure, a clause that gives oil producers the right to miss supply obligations, have been lifted since peace talks were initiated in November with militants. Shipments at Forcados, the nation’s third-largest export terminal, are on course to restart in the second quarter. Since the truce, Nigeria has restored output to 1.68 million barrels a day from the 27-year low of 1.4 million barrels a day in August, according to Bloomberg estimates, with the last attack reported by the main militant group in November.

While that’s still below the 2014-15 average of about 2 million barrels a day, it’s brightened prospects that the country can emerge from its worst economic slump in a quarter-century and ease a foreign-currency crisis sparked by the lower production of oil, its main export, and falling crude prices.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also visited all the states in the oil region in February while he was acting as Nigeria’s leader when Buhari was in the U.K. and made pledges to address longstanding grievances. The government also resumed suspended payments to ex-militants under an amnesty program, giving hope to lasting peace in the region in the long run.