Not less than N3.8 trillion shortfall in oil production, suffered by Nigeria, from mainly militants’ attacks and oil theft in 2016 could have reduced 2017 budget deficit by 30 per cent, said Minister of State, Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu.
He said losses were derivable from reduction of Nigeria’s projected oil output from 2.2 million to less than 1.5 million barrels per day throughout 2016.
The Minister of stated this at the Rain oil 20th anniversary lecture on Wednesday, in Lagos.
He said there is the fear that Nigeria’s 36 billion crude oil reserves could dry up in the next 40 years, if there is no reserve addition and its gas in 65 years, if there are no deliberate efforts to increase the current reserves of 187 trillion cubic feet of gas.
The minister, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), Henry Ikem-Obih, spoke on “The Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry, Opportunities, Challenges and Prospects of the Downstream Sector.”
Said Kachikwu: “The environment has since changed. When we did all these, pricing for crude was $25 to $30 per barrel; today, it is in excess of $54, which is fantastic because it means that our revenue stream is improving.”
According to him, products theft and vandalism have continued to destroy value and put NNPC at a disadvantaged competitive position, and that a total of 2,620 vandalised points were recorded between January 2016 and January 2017.
Former Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Reginald Stanley, in his remarks urged the Federal Government to concentrate on making and implementing favourable policies for the downstream sector.
He said there was a need for the Federal Government to ensure its oil and gas policies bring lasting peace in the Niger Delta to enable the country sustain production, while also allowing the private sector to drive the downstream industry.
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