Despite the current 1.4 million barrels per day oil production curb imposed by OPEC quota, the Federal Government has expressed determination to boost Nigeria’s oil production to four million barrels per day.
The Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva who stated this at the opening of the 2021 Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, NIPS, in Abuja on Monday, said last week’s marginal oil field licencing award would push Nigeria towards its production target.
He however called for collaboration in the industry, to reduce cost and logistics to meet the target.
According him, “This year’s NIPS comes on the eve of the award of new marginal field licences after several failed attempts over the past 20 years.
“I am personally delighted, this is because getting these new set of marginal fields off the ground is definitely a stepping stone towards achieving the country’s aspiration of meeting the target of four million barrels per day oil production and 40 billion of proven reserve.
“I have no that the country is now on the right path to achieve that dream. It is true that the industry has been overwhelmed by unprecedented crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
He noted that despite the ongoing energy transition across the globe, hydrocarbon resources would continue to lead energy sector in the nearest future.
He said Nigeria would continue to ensure conducive business environment for the industry players.
“Hydrocarbons have provided the majority of the world’s energy for centuries and that fact is not going to change all of a sudden.
“I am yet to see that disruptive technology that has great flexibility, affordability and applicability to replace oil and gas immediately.
“However, Nigeria is on track in moving its economy to cleaner energy sources in the area of renewables, gas currently serving as the bridge to achieving that”, he added.
Sylva stressed: “For me, the new approach is collaboration. That is the paradigm shift I want to focus on at this summit. I know that collaboration had been a buzz word in the oil and gas industry for years.
“But the industry has equally paid lip service to it” he stated.
Earlier, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari noted that the industry is going through challenges ranging from energy transition to COVID-19 induced challenges.
Kyari said locally the government is working to address the challenges facing the industry in the country.
According to him, “We are also aware that cost is everything in the future. The crisis has thrown up the fact that only the best of producers will survive and therefore cost control become a major issue in the industry.
“Funding also is a major issue in the industry today for two reasons. One, there is paucity of resources across the globe and secondly, there is overall reluctance by investing companies and banks to put money into fossil fuels related businesses.
“But obviously these are issues we have to live with however the best of the businesses that will survive are the ones that try to transit into climate friendly businesses”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has disclosed that the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which has been 20 years in making, will be passed before the end of June, 2021.
Lawan who made this disclosure at the opening of the 2021 Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, NIPS, in Abuja on Monday, said the joint committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives are almost concluding the writing of its report.
He acknowledged that though the plan was to have the PIB passed by the end of May, more needed to be done to ensure that the concerns of all stakeholders were adequately and fairly considered.
He said: “We want to be very fair in listening to everyone but one different approach that has been able to bring us where we are today in the PIB processing is that we decided right from the beginning that the solo effort in 2007/2008 by the then Executive Arm of government by bringing to the National Assembly the PIB, which at the of the day the National Assembly could not pass”.
He noted that in 2011, it was the same thing and the same result but in 2015, the National Assembly conceived the Bills but the PIB also failed to be enacted.
“In our legislative agenda for 2019-2023 in the 9th Assembly we decided that we must have a better way. Neither the solo effort of the Executive nor the solo effort of the legislature could deliver the PIB, we better have a cooperative approach where the National Assembly will work with the administration to conceive the Bill through very rigorous consultation and the end of the day we narrowed down our differences and areas of potential conflicts.
“I think we have been able to achieve that significantly. The speed and commitment the National Assembly has shown in working on the PIB and reaching where we are today shows that we have chosen the right path.
“As I speak, our joint committee of both Senate and the House on the PIB are about to conclude writing the report which will be submitted to both chambers of the National Assembly. Our expectation is that we will pass the PIB within this month of June by the grace of God”.
Earlier, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila assured operators and stakeholders that the PIB as presently conceived is not intended to drive anyone out of business, noting that rather the National Assemble is working to promote operation in the sector.
According to him, “We are expected to encourage business whether foreign or local or community based. But as competing interests juggle and try to elbow each other out, it is the role of the National Assembly to look for balancing act, bearing in mind that the most important interest for us is that national interest and it is that our national interest that we have that we will look at while considering other competing interests to strike a very delicate balance in this industry”.