Andrew Yakubu, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, said this on Tuesday in Abuja while presenting a keynote address at the ongoing “2014 Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference”.
In his address entitled “Nigeria’s Strategy to Maintain its Position as Africa’s Leading Producer,” Mr. Yakubu said that 397 Oil Licence Blocks were still opened and active.
According to him, Nigeria has what it takes to be the leading player in the oil sector in Africa, even with the emergence of new players and the significant discovery in sub Saharan African.
He posited that Nigeria could grow the sector from the 2.2 million barrels being produced per day to three million barrels with the new initiatives being put in place by the Federal Government.
Mr. Yakubu said that the initiatives were to ensure steady oil production, which will include the setting aside of N15 billion for the purchase of security systems to check the challenges of oil theft in the Niger Delta.
According to him, others are the utilisation of new technology and radar surveillance to boost maritime security, increase sea patrol by the Nigerian Navy and provision of air surveillance of pipelines with modern aircraft.
Mr. Yakubu said other strategies had also been put in place which included addressing pipeline vandalism, improving small field economics and new acreage management system, among others.
He stressed that Nigeria was losing 300,000 barrels of crude per day to crude theft and other loses.
The NNPC boss said Nigeria’s quest to grow its foreign reserve, would be promoted by the new Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, pending before the National Assembly, through a robust acreage management system to be superintended by the upstream petroleum inspectorate.
This, he said, would involve the release of acreages that had been held without activities.
“Contrary to some widely held views that fiscal regime is the cause of low exploration activity, rather it is the lack of open acreage and limited funding in the existing joint ventures that is limiting activity,” he said.
Mr. Yakubu said that the inauguration of the new licensing, which incorporated 31 marginal fields, 16 of which were located onshore, while 15 others were located offshore, was expected to enhance production capacity. It is also expected to increase the country’s oil and gas reserves base through aggressive exploration and development efforts, particularly in the deeper hydrocarbon plays.
“The next major project in Nigeria deep water is the Egina project which has been awarded and is expected to add about 180,000 barrels per day.”
Mr. Yakubu, however, said that the success of all the strategies put in place were dependent on the passage of the PIB.