â€˜How to achieve 40 billion barrels crude oil reserves targetâ€™
Workers drilling oil rig
THE plan by the Federal Government to ramp up crude oil reserves to 40 billion barrels by 2020 has been described as a mirage due to declining exploration opportunities in the country.
Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), in a media briefing on Wednesday, believe that investment uncertainties surrounding the long-delayed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and absence of incentives to encourage exploration activities, may have curtailed oil exploration projects and impeded the country from advancing towards its target to grow reserve base and production.
Besides, the group has announced plans to hold its 33rd yearly International Conference & Exhibition titled: â€œGlobal energy Dynamics and Implications for Nigeriaâ€™s Energy and Economic Securityâ€™â€™.
The countryâ€™s crude oil reserves have declined from the 37.2 billion barrels it recorded in 2011 to 31.81 billion barrels as at December 2014. The nationâ€™s oil reserves slumped from 38.5 billion barrels in 2008 to 37.5 billion barrels in 2010. In 2011, the reserves further dropped to 37.2 billion barrels.
President of NAPE, ChikwenduEdoziem, advised government to grant fresh incentives to oil firms to encourage exploration and find new oil.
According to him, individual company each has a reserves growth target. â€œFinding as much reserves as you produce is very important. You have a target that encourages you to exceed it. Deepwater exploration well could cost you $100 million and these are investments you donâ€™t make anyhowâ€, he added.
He said that the Niger Delta is a maturing basin with declining exploration opportunities and success ratio; adding that opportunities are known to abound beneath existing brown fields, which are yet to be explored.
Edoziem stated: â€œTechnology is the heart of all the significant achievements in the oil and gas industry. The way hydrocarbon is discovered, developed and produced, has been impacted by evolutionary technologies that have emerged since the Drake well of 1859.
â€œThe perception of declining profitability and competitiveness of the Nigerian operating environment which, has been exacerbated by the anxiety over the fate of the PIB, coupled with the incidents of oil and gas discoveries in other African countries, has afforded investors greater choice of investment location to the detriment of Nigeriaâ€.
According to him, Nigeria currently maintains an economically unstable negative net energy trade balance in which the nation exports virtually all the crude oil produced and imports a substantial part of its refined petroleum products needs while under-utilizing other energy sources such as bitumen, coal, lignite, and shale oil, thereby leading to monoculture economy that is largely dependent on crude oil export.
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