By Yemie Adeoye
THE nationâ€™s oilÂ Â production figure for first quarter 2009 as released by the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR in Lagos recently has been put at 2,049,418 barrels of oil per day, bopd.
The Acting Director of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Billy Agha stated this during the first quarter media briefing of the department in Lagos.
According to him, in January 2009 alone the country produced 2,028,132 barrels of crude while the month of February saw a further reduction to 2,024,418 barrels per day.
However, the coming on stream of the Akpo field operated by Total with an initial production of 1,076 bopd which later got as high as 25,000 bopd brought the production level for the month of March to 2,049,418 barrels of oil per day.
However, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Alhaji Rilwan Lukman, in a recent chat with newsmen said Nigeriaâ€™s current potential crude oil production is aroundÂ three million barrels per day.
He made the remark while attending the 153rd extra-ordinary meeting of the OPEC Conference in Vienna, against reported conflicting figures on the countryâ€™s actual production in view of the challenging socio-economic situation in the Niger-Delta.
â€œWe are clear, we know what is going on. We have lost about half of our potential production figure not only due to the damages and militancy in the Niger-Delta, but also to operational reasons,â€ he was quoted as saying. â€œAt the moment, our potential production capacity is about three million barrels per day and we are doing about 1.7 million barrels, which is our current quota,â€ he said.
But speaking on the conflicting figures as is being issued by different government agencies, the Acting Director noted that DPR is the constituted authority with the actual figures and it is the figures issued by the department that is normally available to other government agencies, and according to him, as at today, the current production figure is as stated above.
Meanwhile, the minister also commented on new developments in the industry, including Chevronâ€™s loss of about 100,000 barrels, Agipâ€™s announcement of a force majeure and Total also shutting some of its capacity in the Niger-Delta.
â€œThese have indeed affected our production capacity, but for a long-term, not immediate. For some time, we have not been able to produce at our full potential because of the challenging situation we have in the Niger- Delta,â€ he said. â€œOur hope is that sooner than later, the situation will normalise and the market will be able to support higher production.”
According to him, it is better to moderate Nigerian oil production so that the country can earn better revenue from what we are producing instead of producing more and earning less.