Libya’s crisis could be Nigeria’s opportunity

By Javier Blas

Published: March 2 2011 09:54 | Last updated: March 2 2011 09:54
Normally Nigeria is an unreliable crude oil supplier that refiners have learnt to avoid.
Over the past five years, chronic unrest in the oil-rich region of the Niger Delta has periodically crippled the country’s output of high quality light, sweet oil.
But with Libya’s own output of premium oil seriously disrupted, European refiners have gone into West Africa for a replacement. The premium price of Nigerian over Brent has surged to the highest in almost two years, suggesting that European refiners are ready not only to rely on the country, but to pay top dollars for its oil.
But the increased reliance carries risks, particularly as the West African country heads into elections in April.
If the past is a guide, the elections could lead to a return of violence to the oil-rich Niger Delta, disrupting output of premium, light, sweet oil.
Helima L. Croft, a geopolitical analyst at Barclays Capital, makes this point in a recent report. Entitled “Libya and beyond: the escalating risks”, it points out that the two previous election cycles in Nigeria were marked by sharp rises in attacks on the energy infrastructure in the Read More


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