23 December 2014, Lagos – Between July and October this year, there was no single case of crude oil exploration in the country, findings by our correspondent have shown.
Between January and June this year, the country recorded five exploration activities in the upstream half of the petroleum industry, according to the Department of Petroleum Resources.
Hydrocarbon exploration is the search by geologists and geophysicists for oil and gas deposits beneath the earth’s surface, and is grouped under the science of petroleum geology.
Oil prices in the international market have continued to see a free fall from July this year, with experts predicting that the trend may see many oil and gas projects stalled and general spending in the industry recording a massive decline.
Appraisal for oil and gas drilling also dropped between July and October compared to the first half of the year. Between January and June, the industry recorded 46 appraisals, while between July and October, only 21 appraisal cases were recorded.
The outlook for both onshore and offshore developments is, therefore, looking increasingly uncertain, with prices plunging by more than 50 per cent to about $60 a barrel amid a glut of supply.
Stakeholders fear that projects worth over $150bn may suffer different degrees of setbacks in 2015.
Aside the fear of setbacks for projects, there is also the fear that most oil firms would downsize in 2015 if the falling trends of oil prices continue.
For instance, the tumbling oil price has brought about a huge crisis for the United Kingdom’s North Sea oil industry.
“With oil prices now below $60 a barrel, it is almost impossible to make money,” Robin Allan, the chairman of the independent explorers’ association, Brindex, told the British Broadcasting Corporation.
“It’s a huge crisis. This has happened before, and the industry adapts, but the adaptation is one of slashing people, slashing projects and reducing costs,” he said.
In recent weeks, oil prices have slipped to their lowest levels in five-and-a-half years following weakening demand and concerns of a global oil glut.
Up to £55bn worth of North Sea oil projects scheduled for 2015 could be cancelled due to the falling prices, according to reports.
The United States-based oil company, ConocoPhillips, has already moved to cut 230 out of 1,650 jobs in the UK and some analysts predict that other large firms will make similar cost-cutting announcements in the coming months.
– The Punch