The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, says he has never received a call from President Muhammadu Buhari asking him to allocate oil blocs.
Dr Kachikwu said this on Tuesday while declaring open 17th edition of the annual “Nigeria Oil and Gas Strategic Conference and International Exhibition’’ in Abuja.
He said Muhammadu Buhari not calling him to allocate oil blocs was in line with the federal government’s fight against corruption.
According to him, he has led the restructuring of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), a culture which the Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru carried out under the careful watch of the President.
He reiterated that Buhari had also never interfered on how he carried out his duties or tried to influence him negatively in the allocation of contracts.
“One of the reasons why we have done so well is the fact that quite frankly, in my three years of serving as petroleum minister of state, I haven’t received a single call from the president urging me to do an allocation to somebody or give a bloc to somebody.
“I have not received such a call,’’ Dr Kachikwu said.
He said the president was expected to launch the `Project 100’ by December even as he urged delegates to raise the benchmark of growth in the sector and not just attending conferences.
The Project 100 is a concept Dr Kachikwu initiated to financially assist at least 100 competent Nigerian companies in the execution of projects hitherto handled by foreign companies.
Dr Kachikwu disclosed that Nigeria’s gas reserves had increased by seven trillion cubic feet (tcf) to 200tcf up from 192tcf.
“By the end of the first quarter of 2018, field developments with total expectant production of 200,000 barrels were approved by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
“Gas reserves are estimated at 199tcf, up from 192tcf with the capacity to grow up to 600tcf.
“We have to absolutely begin to look at how to provide gas for electricity and industrial use,’’ he said.
He said although the World was going electric with mobility, electric cars still constitute two per cent of world mobility, hence oil would be relevant probably till 2040 as global oil finds abound daily.
“When we talk of other forces coming to replace oil, the truth remains that oil demands continue to increase. More oil wells are being discovered by the day.
“The reality even when people point at electric cars, they still represent only two per cent of the instrument of mobility today.
According to the DPR we have oil in excess of 59 billion barrels which will at the current consumption rate last more than years.
“So, there is enough reason to feel that oil will be there for a long time, but the reality is that the performance within the oil sector will differ.
“It is not how long it lasts, but what value it brings to the populace – the owners of the resource, how we are able to utilise whatever we find.
“In 2017 alone, over 33 new mega projects, adding volumes of over 50 million barrels equivalents were sanctioned by the DPR.
“We are increasing barrels, 36.18 billion barrels of proven reserves of crude oil and condensates as of first quarter of 2018, adding a life index of over 50 years at a depletion rate of 1.9 per cent.
“There are about 80 open acreages currently under review to enhance the prospects in this sector. There are huge Final Investment Decisions (FIDs) in the horizon: Bonga South-West and Zabazaba which will be first ultra-deep-water project in the region.’’
He said there was a current normal and a new normal in the industry, the current being what was obtainable today, and the new where the industry should be.
According to him, Nigeria’s upstream rig count increased to about 21 during the first quarter of 2018, as against 17 and below five in 2017, and 2015 respectively.
“Our current production level is roughly 2.15 million barrels per day. The stability in the Niger Delta has helped.
“Today, we have about 46 Exploration and Production companies producing from more than 180 fields as at the end of 2017, 55.6 per cent (of oil production) comes from JV portfolio, 35 per cent from PSCs, six per cent from sole risks and three per cent from marginal fields.’’
He said Nigeria would have to quickly move to secure Africa’s regional oil market for itself, as well as drive down her cost of producing oil per barrel.
“With the emergence of the U.S to almost independence in terms of energy provision and less reliance on foreign imported oil, the market has dwindled substantially,” the minister said.
“We need to begin to look at how to sustain and firm up regional adherence to our kind of crude.
“Cost of producing oil in Nigeria continues to be extremely high on a comparative basis and the programmes that will drive the cost of production down must be one driven by business sense.’’