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Shell withholds $40bn deepwater investments

By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor
LAGOS—SHELL Nigeria has put on hold $40 billion worth of potential investment in deepwater oil projects in the country amid uncertainty over planned reforms in the energy sector.
Despite the shortfall, however, the country earned N1.66137 trillion from the export of 142.35 million barrels of crude oil in the first quarter of this year.

Shell’s move in Nigeria

Country Chairman for Shell Nigeria, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, said it was difficult to make commitments without clarity over the terms of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, legislation which would change the fiscal and regulatory framework in the oil industry.

He added, however, that the company had restored output at its Forcados crude export terminal, which was shut because of disruptions by armed groups in the southern Niger River delta.

On Shell’s investment on hold, Sunmonu said: “Just looking at deepwater alone, we have a portfolio of about $40 billion worth of projects, but we will not be able to make a move on these until we have a landing on PIB. That is potential investment that we are not able to sign off on at this time.”

The Federal Government had said that the PIB would make NNPC more competitive and transparent, encourage investment, promote local oil company involvement in the industry and increase gas supplies to the dilapidated domestic power sector.

Oil earnings

Earnings from oil export in the first quarter of 2010 is almost the amount the country earned from the export of crude in the first half of 2009. Nigeria earned N1.784 trillion from the export of 230.8 million barrel of crude last year.

The country produced 185 million barrels valued at market price of $14.223 billion or N 2.1335 trillion in the first three months of 2010.

Available data at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN; Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, showed that the country’s oil export had begun to show sign of improvement as 2.01 million barrel per day was produced in January, 1.98 million barrel in February and 2.10 million barrel per day in March.

The figure was expected to improve further going by orders from oil importing countries that patronise Nigeria’s crude and the new-found peace in the Niger-Delta region.

The figure represented an improvement over the 1.75 million barrel per day lifting in the same period of last year.

Vanguard’s investigation showed that domestic production during the period peaked at 185.64 million barrel that was sold at the prevailing prices.

In January, the average price of sweet crude was $77.62 per barrel. Crude production in January had an average production figure of 2.01 million barrel, while 65.1 million barrels were produced with a market value of $4.836 billion for the month.

On the other hand, export of crude for January has a record figure of 1.56 million barrel per day amounting to $3.753 billion for the month.

According to figures obtained from CBN, Nigeria earned $3.753 billion from the export of 48.36 million in January, as against $1.663 billion earned from the export of 40.3 million barrels of crude in the same period last year.

A breakdown of the data showed that the country produced 2.01 million barrel per day giving a total of 65.1 million as against the 1.75 million barrel per day and a total production of 54.25 million in 2009.

While export stood at an average of 1.56 million barrels per day at $77.62 in the first quarter of 2010 export on the average was 1.30 million barrel of crude per day at an average price of $44.95 per barrel.

In February, records showed that Nigeria produced an average of 1.98 million barrel per day totalling 55.4 million barrels but it was 1.8 million barrels per day in 2009 with a total of 50.4 million barrels for the month.

Export of crude for February 2010 stood at 42.84 as against 37.8 million barrels for the month at the rate of 1.35 million barrels per day in the same period of 2009.

This year,  the export earnings from crude for February was $3.2 billion against a total income of $1.758 billion in 2009.

In March, while domestic production was 2.10 million barrels per day, the total production was 65.1 million barrels. Export of crude for the month stood at an average of 1.65 million barrel per day, amounting to 51.15 million barrels which fetched $4.1058105 billion into the federation account at an average price of $80.27 per barrel.


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