By Yemie Adeoye
THE Federal GovernmentÂ has announced a loss of about 1,101,488 barrels of oil per day (bopd) during the first quarter of 2009 alone mainly due to the crises in the oil rich Niger-Delta region.
Specifically, 474,705 bopd was deferred in January while the month of February witnessed a larger deferment of about 625,783 bopd.
According to the Acting Director of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Billy Agha who gave the disclosure during an interactive session with the media in Lagos recently, the large deferment figure resulted from militant activities as well as operational problems in the industry.
He stated further that Pan Ocean dropped abysmally from 44,210 BOPD to 220 bopd as a result of pipeline rupture at Rapele flow station, while the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC on its part recorded the highest volume of production deferment of 434,280 bopd due to insecurity and gas flaring restriction.
Mobil Producing Nigeria, MPN on its part lost about 87,762 barrels and this was due to an attack on its Qua Iboe Terminal in Akwa Ibom State and all these developments brought the total deferment for the period under review to 1,101,488.
SPDC on its part has continued to shut in more of its production output due to security situation in the Niger-Delta.
The company recently shut-in another 106,000 bopd during the week as its joint-venture operated Trans-Ramos pipeline in Bayelsa State was sabotaged after an attack by militants. The company had earlier shut in a major part of its Forcadoes crude export terminal when it declared a force majeure on the programme which was recently extended to cover the months of June and July due to damage to the pipeline from the Chanomi creek.
The crises and militancy attack have also taken their toll on the countryâ€™s gas reserve largely due to the shut-in of several oil-producing wells in the country. The Federal Government has lost about 178.9 billion cubic feet (cf) of gas production to the ugly trend in the first quarter of 2009 alone.
The country recorded about 456.58 billion cubic feet during the period as against the 634.67 billion cf of gas produced in the first quarter of 2008 leaving a shortfall of 178.9 billion cf in that period due to the crises in the Niger- Delta.
The Federal Government maintains its resolution that deep offshore facilities must be operated as zero flare entities while efforts are being made to recover outstanding penalties from oil-producing companies. Meanwhile, policies are being formulated to ensure the reduction of associated gas produced through proper re-development of producing fields in which gas is still being flared.
The director also announced that all gas discoveries in the inland basins especially Anambra, Chad and the Benue Trough, would be re-evaluated in order to advise the Federal Government on the appropriate actions to be taken.
The Department of Petroleum has decided to evaluate all gas discoveries that are not carried in the national reserve base as well as the potential of deep drilling in the mature Niger-Delta basin and deep offshore, even as it gets set to appraise marginal gas discoveries as a result of the immense shortfall.
Investigations have however shown that the crisis is fast affecting every sector of the Nigerian economy owing to the countryâ€™s over-dependence on oil, this is even in view of a global clamour for renewable energy as a way of out-staging the world dependence on hydrocarbon in the 21st Century.
The power sector has also been badly hit by developments in the oil-rich region, a situation which has thrown the entire country into a spate of darkness. The power utility company, PHCN, as well as the Minister in Charge of Power, Lanre Babalola has repeatedly blamed the shortfall in power generation on low availability of gas to power the stations, and for this reason, the entire nation has been experiencing intense power outages.