Indigenous oil companies have been worse hit than their foreign counterparts in recent times as they posted steep declines in production last year, with industry experts attributing the drop in output to the disruptions caused by militant attacks in the Niger Delta and the inability of some of the companies to access funds to develop their assets, The Punch reports.

Total oil production from the local firms fell to 46.01 million barrels last year from 80.17 million barrels in 2015, bringing their share of national production down to 6.4 per cent from 10.3 per cent. Independent and marginal fields companies saw their output drop to 28.99 million barrels last year from 44.06 million barrels in 2015, as monthly average production fell from 3.7 million barrels to 2.4 million barrels.

Production by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in charge of exploration and production, declined by 52.9 per cent last year to 17.02 million barrels. International oil companies saw output from Production Sharing Contracts increase to 325.34 million barrels last year from 323.14 million barrels in 2015, according to the NNPC data.

Prior to the shutdown of the Forcados terminal in February 2016 after the Trans Forcados Pipeline was attacked by militants, the indigenous firms had been hard hit by the persistent low oil prices as their revenues tumbled. The Forcados shutdown, which lasted for more than a year, piled more pressure on the firms as it impaired their ability to earn revenue.