A sustained lack of upstream investment, due to a vicious circle encompassing (among other factors) low subsidized domestic gas and oil product prices, and delayed payments to NOCs and permit approvals (MEES, 12 April), means production has actually been falling.

Crude output for the first quarter 2013 was the lowest since the first quarter of 2010, and more than 20,000 b/d down on year-ago levels, whilst gas output is the lowest since 2008 (see graph). (CONTINUED - 478 WORDS)