‘Nigeria loses 300,000 barrels of oil daily’
Monday, 04 July 2011
By Roseline Okere
DPR raises concern over depleting reserves
DESPITE efforts of the Federal Government to check some cartels that are involved in oil theft, especially in the Niger Delta, their activities are costing the nation 300,000 barrels per day (bpd). The government is losing this amount of the natural resource at a time that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has expressed the need to search for new oil deposits in order to boost depleting reserves.
The former Special Adviser to the President on Petroleum Matters, Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah, told The Guardian that government was aware of the situation and would ensure that those who were involved in the theft were brought to book.
He stated: “Oil theft in the Niger Delta is a very serious matter. The government has been combating them with military personnel. The amount of oil they steal is about 300,000 bpd. This is not good at all for the economy. These people are supported by big cartels of international agencies. They sell this oil cheaply. The government is doing all it can to put a stop to this huge lose. The government is interested in elimination them.”
In 2009, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Limited disclosed that Nigeria lost about $1.5 billion yearly to crude oil theft. “Criminal gangs continue to steal oil from our pipelines at an estimated rate of 100,000 barrels a day. Theft and illegal refining cause extensive environmental damage. Sabotage and theft together accounted for more than 80 per cent of the spill volume from SPDC facilities in 2010”, Chairman/Managing Director of SPDC, Mutiu Sunmonu said.
WikiLeaks said recently that a United States diplomatic cable quoting a Nigerian official showed that a member of a government panel on troubles in the nation’s Niger Delta implicated some top political leaders as being the biggest forces behind the theft.
It claimed that the theft also fueled arms sales to the restive region while causing environmental damage and cutting production in a nation crucial to U.S. oil supplies.
DPR Assistant Director, Operations, Emmanuel Bakee, told The Guardian at the weekend in Lagos that the country should take searching for more oil deposit as a priority.
According to him, Nigeria’s crude oil and condensate reserves would consistently be depleted if no effort was made to discover new opportunities for oil exploration. The DPR had said that Nigeria’s crude oil and condensate reserves had dropped by 1.44 billion barrels. The drop from 38.60 billion barrels to 37.16 billion barrels represents about 3.73 per cent.
The Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Andrew Obaje, told journalists recently in Lagos that the depletion in the reserves was caused by the refusal of the oil-producing companies to make fresh investments in exploration. Obaje, who was referring to Nigeria’s oil reserves as at January 1, 2010, said: “The decrease was due to companies relenting in exploration activities and full field studies but rather concentrating on development drilling. “As at June 2010, the oil reserves depletion rate was 2.81 per cent based on estimated annual production volume of 894.79 million barrels and the remaining oil reserves indicate a life index of 35.55 years.”
According to him, no exploratory well was drilled in the second quarter of the year while only one exploratory well proposal was received from one company. Obaje, however, said 59 development wells were drilled during the quarter as against 40 wells drilled in the first quarter of 2010. He also said that 28 rigs were in operation during the quarter as against 25 during the first quarter of 2010.
He added that a total of 804 square kilometres of 3D seismic acquisition was approved for four exploration and production companies within the quarter. He said that a total of 2,291 square kilometres of seismic data was acquired between April and June 2010 as against 382.583 square kilometres acquired in the first quarter.
Obaje stated: “There is a serious focus now that straddled fields be unitised rather than being independently developed so as to ensure proper reservoir development and resources management.
During the period under review, 28 companies presented their 2010 work programme and budget.” He also said that the Nigerian deep water province had five producing fields namely Abo, Bonga, Erha and Agbami with an average daily production of about 780,000 barrels per day while others were at different stages of project development.
Author of this article: Roseline Okere