BUSINESS 

‘Poor exploration threatens oil reserves, production targets’

Nigeria’s aspiration to achieve 40 billion barrels of oil reserves and three million barrels of oil per day production by 2023 may be a mirage until industry players go back to exploration, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has said.

Kyari, who was the special guest of honour at the ongoing 37th Annual Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) in Lagos, identified unresolved fiscal policies and investor apathy, among others, as the cause of the lull in exploration for oil.

He also noted that this year’s theme “Expanding Nigeria’s petroleum landscape: Digitization, innovation and emerging new technologies”, is apt considering the current realities in the industry.

Kyari said: “Our target is to hit 40 billion barrels by 2023, but not until we go back to exploration, we may not achieve that target. Despite the fact that oil production is ongoing, the additions are not matching production. With lack of exploration, the country will be on the verge of depleting its oil reserves, which currently is 37 billion barrels.

“The lull in exploration activities by oil companies was responsible for the inability of the country to meet the 40 billion barrels reserve target it set some years ago. The inability of oil companies to go into fresh exploration activities was due to lack of a fiscal regime for the industry.

“Since 1999, we have been trying to work on a new legislation for the oil industry to no avail and this has negatively impacted the oil sector because a lot of investors are just sitting on the fence watching the direction the country will embrace. I assure you all that all issues around the fiscal regime should have been sorted out latest by middle of 2020.”

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