* Marginal bid round expected by early next year - minister
* U.S. shale oil to have “major impact” on demand
By Emma Farge
VIENNA, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil exporter, is currently producing around 2.4 million to 2.5 million barrels per day and output should remain at similar levels next year, the oil minister said on Wednesday.
A major fire at a Shell facility, an Exxon spill and severe flooding cut oil output by up to a fifth in October and November, and caused lengthy delays to exports.
Diezani Alison-Madueke told reporters during a meeting of the OPEC oil-producing countries in Vienna that production had since recovered and should remain at current levels.
“I expect it at least to stabilise (next year). The problems have been flooding and bunkering and some vandalism which have disrupted pipeline services,” she said.
Alison-Madueke said Nigeria still hoped to hold a marginal oil licensing round by early next year. This would be the first since a bid round five years ago which failed to attract interest from foreign oil majors.
Several targets for bid rounds set by the oil ministry have not been met in recent years and uncertainty over a over-reaching energy bill being debated in parliament could deter potential investors, industry experts say.
OPEC oil ministers meet on Wednesday to discuss production and are widely expected to hold output limits steady despite forecasts for a fall in demand next year.
The expected increase in production of shale oil from the United States will be on the agenda and Alison-Madueke said it would have a “major impact” on demand for oil from countries like Nigeria, a key exporter to the U.S.