The nation’s crude oil output has risen to around 1.9 million barrels per day, thus increasing the prospect of the nation’s earnings as the year comes to an end.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, who disclosed this yesterday, also stated that the country would pay the $5.1 billion Joint Venture Cash Call arrears owed International Oil Companies (IOC), within a five-year time frame.
It will be recalled that due to the activities of vandals and militants in the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s crude oil output had dropped to as low as around 900,000 barrels per day, a far cry from the 2.2 million barrels per day benchmark in the 2016 budget.
Speaking during the inaugural meeting of the National Council for Hydrocarbon in Abuja, Kachikwu stated that the vandalisation of the Forcados pipeline, negatively impacted on the country’s crude oil output, while he noted that the issue was currently being addressed.
He said, “In terms of crude oil output, we are still not where we should be. These days, I am always conscious about giving figures so that I do not attract attention unnecessarily.
“Obviously, the Forcados incident did impact us. My guess is that we are moving closer to 1.9 million barrels per day at this point. We are still managing the issue.”
Commenting on the five-year repayment period for the Joint Venture Cash Calls arrears, Kachikwu said the repayment timeline was part of the concessions Nigeria got from the IOCs, while he added that the country was able to secure a discount of $1.7 billion from the negotiations with the IOCs
He further stated that the National Council on Hydrocarbon, which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari would function as an advisory body and would contribute ideas that would be used in policy formulation in the petroleum industry.
He said, “Everybody is invited to participate in that; we create ideas so that we use the ideas to formulate policies. This is the first time it is happening; I think it is a fantastic thing and it is all part of the whole process of getting everybody involved, especially people from those oil-producing communities.”
In another development, Kachikwu also inaugurated the newly-constituted Boards of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPPRA), Petroleum Equalization Fund (Management) Board, PEF, and the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI).
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony in Abuja, Kachikwu stated that the new boards were coming at a time when the global petroleum industry was witnessing a downturn in fortunes which has also translated to reduction in revenue levels from petroleum by most producer nations, adding that the regulatory landscape was also tightening to ensure best practices and protection of lives and assets