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London — Nigerian state oil firm NNPC said on Thursday that it had signed a crude-for-product deal with BP for the next six months to help meet the country’s petrol needs over the holidays and ahead of its general election early next year. Despite being Africa’s biggest oil producer and an Opec member, Nigeria is almost wholly reliant on fuel imports as its refineries barely function after years of neglect and infrastructure sabotage. Periodic fuel shortages are common, with cars lining up at the pump sometimes for days, especially during the Christmas period. President Muhammadu Buhari, whose popularity is already sagging, cannot afford to be seen as unable to meet the needs of Nigeria’s 190-million population. It was not immediately clear what volume would be allocated to BP. The NNPC already has 10 similar deals for a total of just over 300,000 barrels per day of crude out its close to 1.9-million bpd production in October.

The NNPC imports about 70% of Nigeria’s fuel needs...

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