Barring any change, the Nigerian Government will next year conduct a fresh round of licencing for untra-deepwater assets in the country.
This was disclosed by the Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mr Mele Kyari, at the 37th Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorarionists in Lagos.
The NNPC GMD, who harped on the need to ram up exploration activities in the nation’s oil and gas industry, also called on international oil companies operating in the country not to fret over the recent amendment of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act 2004 by the Federal Government.
“As we are all aware, the ultra deepwater is completely unexplored today. Before the end of this year or next year, God willing, I believe there will be some form of bid rounds in that space,” Kyari said.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the bill that amended the Deep Offshore (and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract) Act earlier this month after its passage by the National Assembly.
The Oil Producers Trade Section, comprising of IOCs and their local counterparts had worried that Federal Government’s planned increase in deepwater royalty would worsen Nigeria’s competitiveness, thus making the $15bn currently planned deepwater investments economically unviable.
Lamenting that the nation’s crude oil reserves had stagnated around 37 billion barrels in recent years on the back of the lull in exploration, Kyari noted that there might be “a massive depletion in the available resources.”
According to Kyari, the amendment of the Deep Offshore Act was a requirement of law since the conditions required to make changes to it were met since 2003, adding that the industry had expected something to happen since then but nothing was done, describing this as an opportunity lost.
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