Friday, 01 July 2011 00:00
By Roseline Okere (Lagos) and Abosede Musari (Abuja) Business Services -
NIGERIA’S crude oil production has increased from 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd) to 2.6 million bpd. The Ministry of Petroleum Resources had said early this year that Nigeria’s combined crude oil and condensate output was around 2.4 million bpd with capacity to reach three million bpd.
Both the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku and the former Special Adviser to the President on Petroleum Matters, Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah, attributed the feat to the success of the amnesty programme, which they said, encouraged more crude oil drilling in the Niger Delta.
Kuku said that with the improved level of peace in the Niger Delta, the country has the potential to increase oil production from the current 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd), to three million bpd, if the oil cartel’s quota should be raised.
And yesterday, industry sources confirmed that the nation’s oil production has actually risen to 2.6 bpd.
In an interview with journalists in Abuja, yesterday, after an orientation ceremony held for 176 former militants who were sent to South Africa for training in marine welding, he noted that the success of the amnesty programme had increased oil production from 700,000 bpd to 2.6 million bpd and that this figure can further be increased further if the Federal Government so wishes.
“The attitude level has improved tremendously. Every Niger Delta youth is beginning to see that he is going to have hope in participating in the processes that can empower and employ him one day. Peace level has increased. As it is today, if our quota is increased, Nigeria can produce 2.6 million bpd. Nigeria has done well, the government has done well”, he said. He expressed satisfaction with the level of funding the Federal Government has provided for the programme. “Normally in massive programmes like these, people don’t get contented about the kind of funding they get from government, but it’s a different case here. I can also but appreciate what the President has done in terms of funding for this programme.
“I can aslo but appreciate the National Assembly for passing the amnesty budget. For me, this funding is okay for a year. Next year, whatever we have left, prudently we can go before the National Assembly and the President to make request. Whatever we get, we manage it. For me, I’m contented with what we have,” he said. Kuku however, called on security operatives to check the spate of “illegal” disarmament programmes going on in the region, stressing that it would not stop until it is stopped, noting that the ‘illegal’ disarmament programmes going on was not in connection to the Federal Government programme on amnesty for the youths of the region. “I am very much disturbed because if you go to Warri, Arogbo or Bayelsa today, so many forms of agitations are brewing and growing. It is very unfortunate. Now a new round of illegal disarmament is taking place in the Niger Delta. The disarmamnet purpotedly taking place in the Niger Delta today is not connected with the Presidential proclamation that we are handling today. “When amnesty was proclaimed on June 25, 2009, only 20,192 persons complied with the instructions of the then President, who was supported by the then Vice-President. I do not understand why today, after a second and final set has been added, increasing the number to 26,358 persons from the Niger Delta who have accepted amnesty and benefiting from the programme.
“For me, amnesty has ended in the Niger Delta. I mean in Niger Delta, it has ended. 26, 358 persons accepted amnesty, the Federal Government sees these ones as its delegates,” he said.
According to him, “if at all anybody can give any form of amnesty, it must be focused on youth empowerment and employment; and must be initiated by the state governors.
“Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State initiated his own. He actually moved on with the one he met and so many people have passed through that programme. The programme marshalled by A. K Oxford, that beautiful programme is on.
“In Akwa Ibom, Governor Godswill Akpabio is doing the same thing. He has even gone ahead to put his own youths into transformational training, everybody should copy this.
“Every governor has the right to train his own people and this applies to everybody in this country. There are so many youths that are unemployed and unempowered. Governors and local government chairmen should initiate programmes that will ensure peace in their environment that will empower and employ youths either by government, private sector or by self. This will help”, he said.
As for the training of the ex-millitants, Kuku informed that over 6,000 of them are currently undergoing various vocational and educational training both locally and abroad.
Over 4,000 are in various training locations in Nigeria, some others have been sent to South Africa, Malaysia, the United States; while a lot more of them are still going to be placed in the best training centres around the world.
Those for whom the orientation programme was held yesterday in Abuja, were 176 in number and they have departed to South Africa where they will reside for the next six months of their training in marine welding.
In the past one week, the amnesty office has also sent two other batches of 35 and 90 youths for training in Israel and South Africa respectively.
Speaking at a lecture organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineer (SPE) in Lagos yesterday, he stated that the country was producing less than one million barrels of oil per day in the heat of the Niger Delta crisis.
Egbogah frowned at the country’s inability to fully develop its marginal oil fields, which he puts at 250.
Marginal Fields development is an offshoot of Federal Government policy to kick start indigenous participation in the upstream sector of the petroleum industry. The government sought to achieve this objective by ensuring the farm out of marginal fields within the concessions of the major multinational oil operators to the indigenous operators.
Egbogah said that about 31 marginal oilfields have been awarded to marginal field operator, adding that government planned to increase the number in the next 24 months.
He assured that a new field bid round is expected within the next one year in order to increase the number of marginal oil field operating in the country.
He listed the challenges of under-development of marginal field to include lack of funding from local and international banks, high interest rate with double digit, stringent condition as prior approval of loan, lack of technical know-how and government’s fiscal policy.
Egbogah added: “He said that the Petroleum Industry Bill, which is expected to be passed into law as soon as possible, would introduce a modern acreage management system with strict guidelines, that would provide a platform for new investors in marginal field operations.”
Speaking on the expectation from government to increase the development of marginal fields in the country, he stated: “Government can set up a special energy bank to access funds at a fairly low interest rate. It should suspend royalty payment for a minimum of three years from start of production to ensure profitability. It should allow tax holiday of up to three years by suspending Value Added Tax (VAT) in order to make investment in marginal oil fields attractive to investors”.
A recent report by Business Monitor International (BMI) for the first quarter of 2011 released recently predicted an increase in Nigeria’s oil consumption to increase by 96.6 per cent, with growth slowing to an assumed 7.5 per cent per annum towards the end of the period and the country using 567,000bpd by 2020.
Gas production is expected to rise to 80bcm by the end of the period. With demand rising by 246 per cent between 2010 and 2020, export potential should increase to 35bcm, largely in the form of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).