FG says production increase key to midstream, downstream stability

•To collaborate with PETAN for devt of Nigeria’s oil, gas sector
Worried by the dwindling oil production and the need to drive investments in the nation’s oil and gas sector, the Federal Government, through the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, has underscored the imperative of ramping up production as a pivotal strategy to ensure stability in the midstream and downstream sectors of the industry.

Lokpobiri made this known during his visit to members of the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) in Lagos, where he noted that except production increases, the midstream and downstream will continue to suffer.

He noted that the quickest way for the country to overcome the current economic hardship is through the exploration and production of oil and gas.

Lokpobiri confirmed that the Federal Government is putting up measures to restore oil production, saying there was a need for the ministry and PETAN to work together to maximize all available opportunities that can help increase production in the country.

The minister stressed that the government is actively engaged in policy evolution, aimed at maximising the utilisation of all available oil and gas wells in the country as no country leaves their well idle. He said in Nigeria, so many seismic activities have been done with a lot of oil wells yet to be utilised.

“Imagine, one of the OML’s has about 150 idle wells. There is no way we can increase production if these wells continue to be idle. The wells have been drilled and capped since the 1970s. These are low-hanging fruits.

“Part of our policy direction is to see how we can farm out some of these idle wells for proper utilisation. Now that the world is transitioning to cleaner energy, the country must use the available time to maximise the utilisation of the wells to increase production.

“Except we increase our production, our midstream and downstream will continue to suffer. So, I believe that I and PETAN need to work together so that we can maximise the opportunities the industry can avail us, for the economic prosperity and development of the nation,’’ he said.

Also, he gave assurance of the Federal Government’s readiness to collaborate with PETAN in a bid to increase Nigeria’s oil production and revenue. He expressed conviction that the solution to Nigeria’s energy poverty lies with every stakeholder, stressing that nobody or nation will come to salvage the nation’s oil and gas industry except Nigerians.

The minister said if Nigerians are allowed to play at the desirable level, there will be a lot of improvement in the petroleum sector, pointed out that the essence of the Local Content law was to enable Nigerians to build strong capacity to be able to play side by side with their international counterparts.

Lokpobiri noted that Nigeria has not depleted her oil reserve, saying rather, with the increased reserve that was announced recently by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), it was expedient that the Nigerian government will do all it can to drill more wells.

The NUPRC had announced a rise in Nigeria’s hydrocarbon reserves as of January 1, 2024, with the country’s stock of crude oil jumping by 1.087 billion barrels and its gas reserves surging by as much as 2.573 trillion Cubic Feet (TCF).

In line with NUPRC’s statutory declaration, Nigeria now boasts of 37.5 billion crude oil reserves, while its total gas resources as of the beginning of this year, now stands at 209.26 TCF.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of PETAN, Wole Ogunsanya, an engineer, reiterated the association’s commitment to supporting the Minister and all the efforts of President Tinubu toward increasing oil production and development of the energy sector.

He also called on the government to see how it could grant incentives to stakeholders in a bid to ensure better output and economic benefit for the industry and the nation at large.

Also, the Publicity Secretary of PETAN, Dr. Innocent Akuvue, commended the minister for making time to visit the association. He assured the minister of the association’s commitment to always support the ministry.

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