Nigeria’s president: ‘I can’t tell the US what to do’ on crude oil

The Nigerian president said Monday that he can’t force the U.S. to buy its crude oil after the boom in U.S. shale oil production has drastically reduced the need for it.


“I can’t tell the U.S. what to do,” Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said at a joint press conference with President Trump at the White House.


“Luckily for us, we have got a market for our crude,” the Nigerian leader said, pointing to continued Asian demand for its light, high-quality oil.


However, Buhari said he hopes to find new inroads for Nigerian crude oil from the U.S. chemical sector, which needs lighter, more expensive crude for producing highly refined chemical products.


“I hope technology will allow them to use our crude for its quality for petrochemicals, vis a vis [what it is] getting from shale,” Buhari said.


Crude oil imports from Nigeria have plunged from about 40,000 barrels per month in 2007 to just over 10,000 barrels in January, which constitutes a recent surge compared to recent years.


In the past two years, the amount of oil from Nigeria has sunk to its lowest levels, well below 2,000 barrels per month, according to the Energy Information Administration. Still, Nigeria is in the top 10 list of countries the U.S. imports oil from.


Trump sidestepped the crude oil questions at the press conference, emphasizing instead Nigeria’s demand for U.S. agriculture products.


Trump said trade barriers are preventing U.S. agricultural products from reaching the West African nation, an issue that was discussed at Monday’s meeting at the White House.


Although Trump did not specify which agricultural products were discussed, Nigeria has become a prime destination for U.S. ethanol, according to the Agriculture Department.


Not only is Nigeria a top 10 supplier of crude oil to the U.S., but it also is now in the top 10 countries importing the most corn ethanol from the United States, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.


The top 10 countries from 2014-2016 are China, Philippines, India, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Peru, Jamaica, Nigeria, and Singapore, according to the Agriculture Department.


“Some may not have blending mandates or targets, but use ethanol as an additive to increase octane in gasoline,” the service said. “Some may be importing ethanol for nonfuel uses, even when the product shipped is identified as fuel ethanol.


China has recently increased its import tariffs on U.S. ethanol partly as retaliation for tariffs Trump implemented targeting products from China.


Trump may be looking to find new markets for ethanol and other agriculture imports in response.


Source: Washington Examiner

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