Coal has been superseded as the chief source of Nigeria's electric power by oil, natural gas, and newly developed hydroelectric facilities. In 1969, the 11,500 MW Kainji Dam, 100 km (62 mi) north of Jebba, was inaugurated. The N £87.6-million dam was built with loans from the IBRD ( N £34.5 million) and from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Italy, and the Netherlands. The 560 MW Jebba plant on the Niger, the 600 MW Shiroro plant on the Kaduna, and a 1,320 MW thermal station at Igbin, near Lagos, were also expected to add to hydroelectric capacity. Hydroelectric production accounted for 35.9% of total power generation during 2000, thermal for the rest, based almost entirely on oil or gas for fuel. Installed capacity in 2001 totaled 5,888,000 kW. Electricity produced in 2000 totaled an estimated 15.9 billion kWh. About 40% of the population, and only 10% of rural households, had access to electricity as of 2002.
Within four decades, oil has grown to a position of dominance in the Nigerian economy. As of 2000, Nigeria was sub-Saharan Africa's largest oil producer. A Dutch-UK consortium made the first commercial strike of oil in 1956 and began to export in 1958. A number of other companies, mainly US and French, subsequently began exploration, and large reserves were discovered. Production was reduced substantially by the civil war, but by 1973 output was up to 2 million barrels a day. Proved reserves in early 2001 amounted to about 22.5 billion barrels. Crude oil production rose from 1,285,000 barrels per day in 1982 to 1,945,000 barrels per day in 1992. Production in 2000 averaged 2,140,000 barrels per day. Oil export revenues in 2001 amounted to $19.5 billion, or 90% of total export revenues.
The main fields are located mostly in Rivers, Imo, and Bendel states of the delta region, both onshore and in the Gulf of Guinea. In May 1974, the state-owned Nigerian National Oil (later Petroleum) Co. (NNPC) acquired a 55% share in all the petroleum companies in Nigeria. In 1979, the NNPC raised its equity share to 60% and also took over British Petroleum's remaining 20% share in the Shell/BP Consortium. Since 1993, the foreign oil companies have proposed a move from joint venture to production sharing contracts, which would save millions of dollars in annual operating costs because the companies would pay taxes and royalties directly to the government. Since the 1990s oil production and export have been disrupted by attacks related to ethnic tensions and environmental concerns in oilproducing areas. A flow station operated by Shell was out of operation for 18 months, losing 40,000 barrels per day of production, as the result of damage inflicted by armed attackers in 2001. Illegal siphoning of fuel out of pipelines has caused a number of explosions, of which the most disastrous was one in October 1998, which caused a fire that killed over 1,000 people. At least 60 more people died in an explosion in Lagos at the end of 2000.
Crude oil production has resulted in the joint production of natural gas, 75% of which is wasted through flaring. Gas associated with oil production comes from about 150 fields, many in the swampy areas of the Niger River Delta. In 1996, Shell announced it would start a $250 million gas utilization project to end flaring at its production facilities by 2010. The $3.8 billion Bonny Island liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, completed in September 1999, was expected to produce 7.1 billion cu m (250 billion cu ft) of LNG annually. There are also plans to construct a pipeline to export Nigerian natural gas to Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Côte d'Ivoire. In 1999, Nigeria produced 6.9 billion cu m (243 billion cu ft) of natural gas. In 2001 reserves were estimated at 3.5 trillion cu m (120 trillion cu ft), the ninth largest in the world.