Four-million-barrel crude oil target ‘not feasible’

Nigeria’s aspiration to increase its daily crude production from 2.2 million barrels per day to four million barrels daily by 2025 is in doubt as the production from Joint Ventures (JVs) shrinks further, the Country’s President of Association of International Energy Economists (AIEE), Prof Wunmi Iledare, has said.

Production from the deepwater through which the country derives substantial part of its daily crude output, he also stated, is not increasing either.

In a telephone interview with The Nation, Iledare said the fact that production from the Joint Ventures and the deep water operation is falling gradually is an indication that the country would find it difficult to improve its output significantly in future.

According to him, the four million production target by Nigeria is not realistic in view of the fact the country is presently struggling to produce barely 2.2 million barrels per day.

He said the downward trend, which production from Joint Venture partners, including Mobil and Shell is witnessing in recent times, coupled with that of deepwater production, is not putting Nigeria in a comfortable zone to increase its output significantly in the next few years.

He said inability by the Federal Government to sign a new Production Sharing Contract (PSC) is going to affect crude production in the country.

Iledare said: “There is no Production Sharing Contract (PSC) in recent times. Also the lead time from contract to production takes between 10 years to 15 years, implying that the country must wait for that period, whenever the government is ready for such contract.”

The former University of Port Harcourt lecturer, said the country is lacking investment in infrastructure, adding that the development has made it difficult for Nigeria to produce either three million or four million barrels of crude per day.

“Honestly, producing three million bpd or four million bpd is not possible. JV production is declining; no meaningful investment to build capacity; no access to new investment. Also, there is market glut in targeted destinations to Nigeria oil, coupled with the fact that the reform in the sector is elusive,” he added.

Iledare said Nigeria has enough reserves to sustain either three million or four million daily crude production, but does not have the required infrastructure or market to sustain it.

He urged stakeholders, including the Federal Government, to come together to build infrastructure for the sector, adding that any attempt by the operators to put in place robust infrastructural mechanism would make the industry compete well globally.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in conjunction with some multinational oil firms signed a Joint Venture agreement. The development ensures that the Joint Partners, including Shell and Mobil, contribute 45 per cent to Nigeria’s crude output while NNPC contributes 55 per cent.

In addition, Shell has almost exited Nigerian market, a development, which would have significant effect on the contributions of the oil firm to Nigeria’s output.

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