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Stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas industry have expressed concerns over the declining fortunes of the crude oil and gas reserves in Nigeria and called for quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill to mitigate the slide.
At the first Energy Policy Strategy Session organised by Emerald Energy Institute for Energy Economics, Policy and Strategic Studies of the University of Port Harcourt, in Lagos, recently, President of GWEST LLC Washington DC and a Visiting Scholar, Paul Michael Wihbey, emphasised the huge opportunity costs and market share for Nigerian crude oil and gas.
He noted that Nigeria, for instance, had declined from being the third largest exporter of crude oil to the United States, to being the sixth as of February, 2012, with volumes falling from over one million in the late 1990s to just 350,000 barrels in February.
He attributed the decline to factors ranging from uncertainties in the Nigerian environment as a result of the stalled reform law, to new advances like shale oil, which have made available over one million barrels a day in areas that had stopped producing oil in the U.S.
Wihbey also pointed out that Nigeria was not doing enough to achieve its production potential and was in essence committing economic suicide.
However, Chairman of Emerald Energy Resources Limited and former Presidential Adviser on Petroleum, Dr Emmanuel Egbogah, countered that Nigerian crude oil and gas reserves was not about to finish and that using Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) estimation techniques for reserves, there could be 100 to 200 years more of production.
According to him, “Nigeria is already developing as it needs all the resources to develop as the production to her optimum capacity gives Nigeria today’s money, which is critical because nobody knows what value can be gotten from oil in the future, with advances in technology and renewable energy.”
Egbogah had stated recently at an event that many exploration experts believe that for every five barrels of oil already discovered to date throughout the world, some three more barrels are yet to be discovered in currently producing fields, as well as the Deep Seas, the Arctic and the Amazon basin.
This expectation, he said, could be extrapolated to many largely unexplored areas of the Niger Delta and Inland/frontier basins of Nigeria.