18 December 2012, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC – a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC says it expects to grow output to 250,000 per day by 2015, an ambitious target in an environment frought with security, funding and operating challenges.
Considering its antecedent just a couple of years ago, it would have been easy to dismiss this as an impossible task for NPDC, coming from just 65,000b/d production level pre 2010.
However, having demonstrated that nothing is impossible with a resolute and determined management, the NPDC has actually doubled output from pre-2010 levels of 65,000bpd to 130,000bpd. With such a success story, it may not be surprising that the NPDC is again, taking up another challenge of production targets of up to a quarter of a million barrels by 2015.
Indeed, the NNPC under the leadership Mr Andrew Yakubu, has consistently maintained that it will make the corporation and its subsidiaries, including NPDC a viable venture, and not just paying lip service to the vision of becoming profitable as the likes of Saudi Aramco, PetroBraz, Petronas and a host of other commercially-oriented national oil companies around the world.
Part of his long term strategies in achieving this include “focusing on entrenching accountability and transparency, rebuilding NNPC’s financial position, implementing NPDC growth strategy, monetising gas resources for national economic growth and development, revamping critical facilities and infrastructure as well as promoting capacity building.”
The NNPC’s helmsman has reiterated that apart from ensuring an increase in the level of proven reserves from 37 billion barrels to 40 billion barrels, the Corporation is also working assiduously towards increasing production from the current figure of 2.4 million barrels per day to a record 4 million bpd by 2020. Nigeria’s production of crude oil now averages at 2.4 million barrels daily after recording an all time high of 2.7million bpd late July.
The Managing Director, NPDC, Mr. Victor Briggs, stressed the need for the company to pursue an aggressive drilling programme to grow production in an organic fashion.
Such aggression is being bolstered by the recent divestments by some of the Joint Venture, JV, partners, the Federal Government was able to give pre-emptive rights to the NNPC, with which the production rights for some of these assets, particularly those in the onshore, shallow water Niger Delta were given to NPDC.
Briggs recalled, “Under the able leadership of the former Managing Director who is now Group Executive Director Exploration and Production, Engr. Abiye Membere, our production grew from between 60,000bpd and 65,000bpd to about 130,000bpd.
That is about 100% growth. For us to meet the 250,000bpd target by 2015 we will have to do another 100% growth from our current production. And that is what we are trying to do.
“First we tried to repair some of the wells to restore their production capacity. For instance in OML 26, between when that asset was handed over to NPDC in June and now the production of that field was doubled. All of these have added up to the 130,000bpd production that we are talking about today. To meet the 250,000bpd target by 2015 means doubling our production as I said earlier, but I am confident that we will meet the target because the resources are there and the reserves are there, and we have the people. Everything is therefore set for us to meet the target.
“To give you an example, in the last five years NPDC drilled 10 wells, but we have a target to drill about 40 wells in the next five years. We have two rigs on site today, one offshore and the other one onshore By the middle of next year we are bringing in one more rig and towards the end of the year we will bring in the 4th rig. I believe we shall keep those rigs for the next two years.”
At the take over of Oil Mining License, OML 34, by the NNPC and ND Western from the Shell, Total and Agip JV, Yakubu noted that the operatorship right has given NPDC the impetus to become an active player in the upstream sector of the oil and gas sector. He revealed that before now, the in-country participation was less than 10% in the upstream, adding that the asset will bolster the 250,000 bpd growth aspiration of the NPDC.
According to him, “With these pragmatic steps, Mr. President has helped us in growing the NPDC, and we are optimistic that come 2015, we would be able to achieve our target.” Backed by the corporation’s support, the NPDC has rolled out a number of plans to achieve set targets, which include drilling 40 wells in the next five years at an average of eight wells a year, against 10 wells drilled in the last five years at an average of two wells yearly.