Oil has been at the top of Nigeria’s export list for the past decade or so, accounting for at least 90 percent of overall exports made by Nigeria. This is why the economy suffered greatly when the US, China and India, some of Nigeria’s biggest buyers, shut their doors on its oil.

According to the US Department of Energy, Nigeria did not export a single barrel of crude to US-based refiners in July 2015 for the first time since 1973. Before this, the US imported more than 1 million barrels per day from Nigeria. Nigeria has become the biggest casualty of rising United States shale oil production. Shale oil is of a similar quality to light oil; therefore, Nigeria had lost its biggest buyer. As more shale basins were discovered in the US, they did not need any more oil from Nigeria.

Since then, India has been the larger buyer of Nigerian crude. That, however, has reduced due to India’s growing demand for Latin Americas crude.

Although, a number of countries have turned away from Nigeria’s crude, Russia says it won’t. Valeriy Shaposhmikov, the deputy head of mission, Russian Embassy, said its major Russian oil companies are looking to invest in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

The diplomat observed that there are vast opportunities for Russian firms in Nigeria. “An important sector could be the oil and gas sector. A major Russian oil and gas company, Gazprom could be involved in developing pipelines infrastructure and protection systems, and Oil Company Lukoil is coming to work here.”

The Russian Ambassador also said that he supported the recent changes in Nigeria, explaining that peaceful and democratic transition of power was an important step towards development.

However, the reality of these countries slamming the door firmly against Nigeria’s oil exports could be the wake-up call Africa’s biggest oil producer needs.

By April Dokpesi

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