Written by Tunde Dodondawa, Lagos Monday, 02 July 2012
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.
Monday, 02 July 2012
The search for the new Group Managing Director (GMD) for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was laid to rest last week when the Federal Government announced the appointment of Mr Andrew Yakubu, as a successor to Mr Austen Oniwon, the former GMD, NNPC.
Oniwon was due for retirement in April, 2011 and was reported to have turned in his letter of retirement from the NNPC which he has served for over 25 years.
However, the pressure to have Oniwon’s tenure extended beyond 2011 was sustained for reasons not publicly disclosed. Moreover, there were other group that argued that it was of no point “extending his time,” as Oniwon had already put in his best to the service of the industry.
The reasons for his extension may be based on the fact that in the last five years, NNPC has had five GMDs. They were Funso Kupolokun, Abubakar Yar’Adua, Shehu Ladan, Austen Oniwon and the current GMD, Andrew Yakubu.
Among many challenges confronting the new NNPC boss is the corruption rocking the organisation. The NNPC, according to Transparency International, is the most corrupt organization when compared with its contemporaries like the Petrobas, Petronas and other state-owned oil firms in the world. Tackling the corruption within the system will be the most daunting task for Andrew Yakubu.
Yakubu needs to begin with cleansing the rots in NNPC by ensuring transparency and accountability in all NNPC transactions on behalf of the state. The NNPC manages the oil and gas sector on behalf of the Federal Government.
The President, Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, (NAPE), Mr Mayowa Afe, advised the new GMD to fix Nigeria by fixing the NNPC. “Fix Nigeria by fixing the NNPC,” he said.
Confirming the rots in the NNPC, the Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs, Mr Ndubuisi Nwaogu, sometimes disclosed at the House of Reps committee hearing that all importations made in connection to subsidised fuel by the NNPC never went through the Nigeria Customs Services.
“Whenever our men insisted on enforcing the rules, they are politely advised to stay action to enable free flow of petrol in the country, particularly the products imported by the NNPC,” he said.