BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja
There is an indication that Nigeria may soon begin the importation of crude oil given the low production capacity and condition of the refineries.
Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) had in October revealed that crude oil output rose to an all-time high of 1.35 million barrels per day in September 2023.
The data also highlighted that Nigeria’s crude oil production (excluding condensates) hit 1,346,562 barrels per day, compared to the 1,181,133bpd produced in August this year.
But the Executive Secretary Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote warned that Nigeria might resort to importing crude oil if concerted efforts were not made to increase the current low production capacity.
At the 41st Annual Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) in Lagos, Wabote lamented the country’s low production of crude oil and gas despite the abundant reserves.
He challenged members of NAPE and other stakeholders to initiate efforts to reverse the situation.
Wabote hinted that the nation’s 37 billion barrels of oil reserves should be closely monitored irrespective of plans to revamp the existing refineries ahead of the commissioning of greenfield refineries.
He said: “It will be a sad outcome if we stop the importation of refined petroleum products only to replace it with the importation of crude oil for use in our local refineries.”
The executive secretary hailed the role of petroleum explorationists in energy mix, especially in discovering, evaluating and establishing reliable and sustainable size of oil and gas reserves.
He noted that Nigeria has about 208 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of proven gas reserves and about 600TCF unproven reserves.
Wabote enjoined petroleum explorationists to apply their skills and technology by confirming the recoverable volumes from the unproven reserves and develop the proven reserves.
He hinted that the focus on gas is essential as is no longer Nigeria’s transition fuel but the destination fuel, assuring that NCDMB would provide all the necessary support to realise the gas ambitious agenda of President Bola Tinubu.
The executive secretary pointed out that the world stands at a key point where adequate consideration must be made to address the energy trilemma, which entailed achieving an appropriate balance between energy security, sustainability and affordability.
He added that the oil and gas industry has been a key pillar of global energy, as it has powered and continued to power industrial and economic developments across the world.
The NCDMB boss informed that repositioning the Nigerian oil and gas industry for national development required partnerships with key players and agencies across the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors, as well as the entire value chain.
He maintained that the Nigerian Oil and Gas Content Development Act (2010) provided the guidelines for the growth and development of local capacities and capabilities in the industry.
Wabote lauded the Federal Government’s determination to consolidate on the gains realised in the industry rather than reverse the gains of Nigerian Content.
He said that the board is ready to support various oil and gas initiatives that would ensure patronage of local investments, boost investors’ confidence and create jobs to sustain the relative peace in the sector.
BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja