The United States’ monthly crude oil import from Nigeria has fallen below 3.0 million barrels for the first time in more than two years, dropping by 62%.
The decline in the country’s appetite for Nigerian crude followed the upsurge in its production of the commodity.
The latest data from the US Energy Information Administration seen by our correspondent on Friday showed that the US bought 2.89 million barrels of Nigerian crude in May, the lowest since February 2016.
The US oil production, which has been booming at record levels in recent months, hit 10.9 million barrels per day in June.
The country cut its oil imports from Nigeria by 62.08 per cent to 3.92 million barrels in March, from 10.03 million barrels and 10.34 million barrels in January and February, respectively. It bought 7.75 million barrels in April.
The US purchased a total of 24.28 million barrels of Nigerian crude in the first three months of this year, down from 25.97 million barrels in the same period last year.
The imports of Nigerian crude by the US rose by 48 per cent to 112.92 million barrels last year, the highest annual level in five years, up from 75.81 million barrels in 2016 and 19.86 million barrels in 2015.
The US imports of Nigerian crude fell from 148.48 million barrels in 2012 to 87.40 million barrels in 2013 on the back of shale oil boom, the data showed.
In 2014, when global oil prices started to fall from a peak of $115 per barrel, Nigeria saw a further drop in the US imports of its crude to 21.2 million barrels.
For the first time in decades, the US did not purchase any barrel of Nigerian crude in July and August 2014 and June 2015, according to the EIA data.
In 2010, the US bought as much as 358.9 million barrels from Nigeria, but slashed its imports to 280.1 million barrels in 2011.
The EIA reported last Wednesday that the US crude oil production hit 11 million bpd during the previous week, when its net imports fell by 1.05 million bpd to average 6.36 million bpd.
It said on Thursday that the US crude oil production would continue to increase through 2019 to hit record level.
The agency forecast in its August Short-Term Energy Outlook that the US crude oil production would average 10.7 million bpd in 2018 and 11.7 million bpd in 2019.
In April this year, The PUNCH reported that the US crude oil exports had surpassed that of Nigeria as shale oil production surged.
The EIA, the statistical arm of the US Energy Department, said the US crude oil exports rose by 582,000 barrels per day in the third week of April to an all-time record high of 2.331 million bpd.
Light sweet Nigerian crude is very similar to the light oil produced in the US shale.
Meanwhile, the overhang of Nigerian crude had cleared further, thanks to a pick-up in buying interest, traders said on Friday.
The number of unsold cargoes from the August and September programmes dropped to about 10, from close to 30 at the start of the last week, Reuters quoted one trading source as saying.