Nigeria's government is lifting a controversial subsidy on gas, nearly doubling the price amid a massive fuel shortage and militant attacks on oil installations in Africa's biggest petroleum producer.

Previous attempts to end the subsidy have provoked riots and, in 2012, the biggest demonstrations ever seen, forcing the government to retract.

Petroleum Minister Ibe Kachikwu on Wednesday announced the new gas price of 145 naira (73 U.S. cents) a liter, up from 86.5 naira (43 cents). He noted that the months-long scarcity has meant Nigerians pay up to 250 naira ($1.26) a liter on the black market.

Kachikwu said importers have had difficulty sourcing foreign currency because of a huge decline in foreign exchange earnings caused by low oil prices. Nigeria refines only enough crude to provide half its needs.