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Nigerian Oil Output Down 40 Percent in Volatile South

A man sells fuel on the road side in Kano, Nigeria, April 1, 2016. Nigeria has been facing a fuel shortage that has created long lines at gas stations and left travelers stranded on highways.

Nigeria's oil production has fallen by nearly 40 percent because of militant attacks in the country's south, according to Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Emmanuel Kachikwu.

Kachikwu told the lower house of parliament Monday that the country's crude oil production had declined from 2.2. million barrels per day to 1.4 million barrels per day. He said the loss of 800,000 barrels per day is due to "incessant attacks and disruption of production in the Niger Delta."

Nigeria relies upon the production of crude oil for the bulk of its national income and the 2016 budget assumes production of 2.2 million barrels per day at $38 a barrel.

Attacks on oil infrastructure are on the rise in Nigeria's south, where a group calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers has been vandalizing oil facilities. The group is calling for a greater share of oil profits for the region's residents and has vowed to damage Nigeria's economy.

The Niger Delta also saw a wave of violence in the last decade when rebels attacked pipelines and kidnapped workers. That violence only subsided in 2009 when the government introduced an amnesty program that paid off militants.

Kachikwu said the government would look at the previous amnesty to determine why militant attacks are again on the rise. He also said Nigeria must invest more money in its oil infrastructure, including repairing pipelines and burying them to proper levels.