Fails to meet OPEC quota; records 3,000 shut-ins

Revenue drops 37% to $93.9m in Q1’22

Authorities lament as experts proffer solutions

By Obas Esiedesa – Abuja

Nigeria’s oil production averaged 1.22 million barrels per day in the first five months of 2022, about 65.2 percent of the 1.88mb/d production benchmark set in the 2022 Budget, latest data has indicated.

The volume was also far short of the 1.772mb/d oil production quota allocated to Nigeria by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.  

The low production meant that the country received just $93.9 million from crude oil export in the first quarter of 2022, about 36.9 percent

less than the $148.7 million earned over comparative period in 2021.

This is despite crude oil trading at its two year highest point.

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Poor investment, criminality hinder growth

The country’s low oil production has been attributed to lack of investment in the industry and high level of oil theft in the Niger Delta region.

Latest figures from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited show that in 2021 alone, Nigeria lost over $4.01 billion to oil thieves while the figures also show that this year alone, about $1.5 billion has been lost to the vandals.

Speaking on the situation recently, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited, Mallam Mele Kyari said the increasing rate of vandalism has caused massive disruptions in oil production, noting it was the worst the country has ever witnessed.

According to him, “As we speak now, there is massive disruption to our operations as a result of the activities of vandals and criminals along our pipelines in the Niger Delta area. This has brought down our production to levels as low as we have never seen before.

“Today, we are doing less than 1.15 million barrels per day simply because some criminals decided that they should have some infractions on our pipelines. That is clearly the biggest form of business disruption that we are facing today.

The certifications that we have today around our systems and processes should be able to respond to this and part of the response is to bring in the best framework possible to contain the situation”.

Also speaking on the situation, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), disclosed that about $3.27 billion worth of oil has been lost to vandalism in the past 14 months.

The Commission disclosed that most of the crude oil losses came from Bonny Terminal Network, Forcados Terminal Network and Brass Terminal Network.

The Chief Executive of NUPRC, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, said the government was determined to end the menace so that the country can benefit from the rising price of oil and also to protect the environment from oil spills.

According to him, “the issue of oil theft has become a very worrisome issue to the government of Nigeria and I believe to you as investors too”.

Komolafe stressed that it was important that the government and the oil companies’ work together resolve the issue especially on the
agreed volume of oil lost to vandals as the issues strike at the heart of Federation revenue”.

Tackling oil theft

As part of efforts to tackle the problem, the Federal Government two months ago deployed a joint task force made up of the Nigerian Navy and the Army to the region. The move has yielded very little result as production has failed to improve.

This has prompted the call for the deployment of cutting edge technology to battle the oil thieves.

To this end, the CEO of Kenyon International West Africa Ltd., Victor Ekpenyong disclosed that it has developed a home-grown solution to end oil theft and vandalism in the country.

He explained that the solution, which the company refers to as Idle Well Management Solution, is currently being deployed in some oil fields and has proved cost effective and efficient.

“The solution includes installation of anti-theft devices on well heads that makes it impossible to steal crude or vandalise well heads. If the solution is adopted across oilfields, oil production will take an upward swing and enable Nigeria to benefit from the rising oil prices. Nigeria has the capacity to produce nearly 2.5 million barrels of oil per day, but now, it is struggling to produce one million plus barrels a day”.  

On the government side, the CE, NUPRC, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe last week set up a committee on the reactivation of shut-in strings in the country.

Komolafe explained that the country has suffered significant losses in crude oil production especially in land and swamp terrain due to economic sabotage.

He said there are about 3,000 shut-in strings across the industry that could easily be reactivated.

“A major consequence of this nefarious activity is the declaration of force majeure at Bonny Oil & Gas Terminal, BOGT and shut-in of wells from fields evacuating through the Nembe Creek Trunk Line, NCTL and the Trans Niger Pipeline, TNP. A consequential effect of this menace is that the nation only achieved about 60 percent compliance with Technical Allowable Rate, TAR and 72 percent of its assigned OPEC quota.

“On the other hand, the socio-economic impact of production and associated revenue losses to both government and investors is a deep cause for concern for all stakeholders.

“The challenges that stem from this issue include: Threat to national and energy security; Erosion of global competitiveness and ease of doing business; Rise in unemployment across the industry; Increase in conflicts due to proliferation of arms; Widespread HSE and community concerns etc”.
He noted that “in light of these issues and government’s production target of three million barrels of oil per day in three years, the NUPRC has developed regulatory initiatives and optimization strategies aimed at decreasing this menace to the barest minimum in the short run, and eventual elimination in the long run. The strategy involves various industry stakeholders and cuts across techno-socio-economic and security initiatives. It is my utmost belief that the impact of these joint strategies would be felt across the industry in a few months.

“Against this backdrop, the initiative to conduct an industry-wide integrated study on the reactivation of shut-in strings was conceptualised in the Commission and approved by me as a low hanging strategy to gain incremental production. Our analysis shows

that we have over 3,000 shut-in strings in-country with huge potential to boost production

in the short term (i.e six months), midterm (i.e one year) and long term (i.e over a year)”.

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