Fact check: Buhari’s claim on crude oil prices from 1999 to 2015 is inaccurate
President Muhammadu Buhari, during a one-day visit to Imo state on Tuesday, said Nigeria earned an average of $100 a barrel from 1999 to 2015, but former rulers did not been able to improve the country’s infrastructure.
The president also blamed Boko Haram and Niger Delta militants for the drop in oil revenues.
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Full Story: President Muhammadu Buhari was in the capital of Imo State, Owerri, on Tuesday to commission some projects being carried out by the administration of Governor Hope Uzodinma.
In his remarks, the president blamed the elite for not thinking seriously about Nigeria, adding that although his government has done “extremely well”, those who are supposed to market his administration for its achievements have refused to speak.
He also said that despite having so much revenue from crude oil, his predecessors failed to develop the country’s infrastructure.
“To be frank with you, I blame the Nigerian elite for not thinking seriously about our country,” the president commented.
“Between 1999 and 2015, when we came in, I would like people to check the Central Bank and the NNPC, the average production was 2.1 million bpd. Nigeria was winning at that time 2.1 million times but look at the state of the infrastructure, look at the road… look at the railway, it was practically killed. Power, we are still struggling.
“But when we arrived, unfortunately the activists went wild, production went down to half a million bpd. Again, unfortunately, the cost of oil went from $28 to $37,” he said.
In verifying the claim, Daily Trust obtained data from relevant agencies on Nigeria’s crude oil sales from 1999 to 2015 which the President referred to.
Checks by the Daily Trust, based on data from the Organization of Petroleum Producing States (OPEC) as well as Statista, a reputable global data analytics platform, showed that the average annual price of crude oil in Nigeria from 1999 to 2015 hovered around $17.4 per barrel, which was the lowest at $109 per barrel.
The lowest price ($17.4 per day) was recorded in 1999 under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, while the highest price was recorded in 2012 when it jumped $109 barrel under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
A breakdown by Daily Trust from available data showed that in 1999 the price of crude oil was around $17.4 a barrel. It jumped again to $27.6 in 2000, then dropped to $23.1 in 2001.
However, in 2002 oil prices rose slightly to $24.3 per barrel and in 2003 they were $28.1 per barrel and in 2004 they were $36.5 per barrel.
Subsequently, crude oil prices rose to $50.5 per barrel in 2005, then to $61 in 2006, $69 in 2007 and $94.1 in 2008.
However, oil prices fell to $60.8 per barrel in 2009 and in 2010 the price of oil jumped to $77.3.
In 2011, the average annual oil price had reached a record high of $107 per barrel, then rose to $109 per barrel in 2012, $105.8 in 2013 but fell to $96.2 in 2014.
In 2015, before the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari, crude oil prices fluctuated between $62 and $66 per barrel.
Buhari’s repeated misrepresentation on crude oil prices
Hence, Daily Trust observed that this is neither the first nor the second that President Muhammadu will make inaccurate comments about crude oil prices in Nigeria.
For example, in January this year, the President cited erroneous figures on Nigeria’s average crude oil revenues between 1999 and 2014 while talking about his administration’s efforts to build the economy on meager resources.
The President, in the interview broadcast by Channels TV, said Nigeria’s crude oil production from 1999 to 2014 averaged 2.1 million barrels per day at an average price of $100 per barrel.
“I challenge many of you to go and check with the central bank or NNPC; production from 1999 to 2014 was 2.1 million barrels per day of average production at an average cost of $100 per barrel,” the chairman said in response to inquiries from Channel’s Seun Okinbaloye.
Likewise, in an interview with Arise TV in June 2021, the president made the same false claims.
He stated this while welcoming Dr. Reuben Abati, Tundun Abiola and Segun Adeniyi from Arise Television.
Along the same lines, in a previous interview in 2019, most of the president’s interviews and speeches since 2016 have followed a similar line.
For example, the President, in his speech during Nigeria’s Democracy Day celebration in 2016, said that the average price of oil was $100 a barrel from 2010 to 2014.
In a similar message on October 1, 2016, the nation’s Independence Day, President Buhari, while addressing the country, changed his statement that oil prices were “averaging USD 100 per barrel at over the last decade”.
Conclusion: Following statistics and verifiable data from relevant bodies, Daily Trust concludes that Nigeria’s crude oil figures, quoted repeatedly by President Buhari from 1999 to 2015, are inaccurate.
This Fact Check is produced in collaboration with the Center for Democracy and Development CDD