Chairperson, Programmes and Training, International Forum for Women in Energy, Oil and Gas, Mrs. Caroline Egejuru, has said that Nigeria’s dethronment as the topmost African crude producer by Angola and even Libya is a call for concern.
In an interview with New Telegraph at the weekend, she stated that it was detrimental to national economy that Nigeria’s oil production plunged to as low as 972,000 barrels per day in August 2022, according to data released by the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and confirmed by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in its September 2022 report. OPEC’s report confirmed that figures from NUPRC indicated that Nigeria’s oil production dropped from 1,083,899 bpd in July to 972,394 bpd in August, which made Angola and Libya to overtake Nigeria in output.
According to the report, Angola was Africa’s highest crude oil producer for the month under review with an average production of 1.187mb/d, while Libya’s crude oil production also averaged 1.123mb/d for the month of August.
OPEC said: “According to secondary sources, total OPEC-13 crude oil production averaged 29.65 mb/d in August, higher by 618,000 month-onmonth. “Crude oil output increased mainly in Libya and Saudi Ara-
bia, while production in Nigeria declined.” Nigeria has consistently been recording low oil output as against its OPEC quota. NUPRC, in its crude oil and condensate production data for July 2022, stated that Nigeria’s crude oil production also decreased in July to an average of 1.08 million barrels per day (bpd) from 1.16 million the previous month.
It also said that Nigeria’s oil production, with the addition of condensate, decreased in July by 6.42 per cent to 1.31 million bpd from 1.40 million in June. Condensate is a mixture of light liquid hydrocarbons, similar to a light (high API) crude oil — usually separated out of a natural gas stream at the point of production (field separation) when the temperature and pressure of the gas are dropped to atmospheric conditions.
OPEC, in its oil market report for July 2022, said Nigeria’s crude oil production was 1.238 million bpd (bpd) in June, which is a decline from the nation’s OPEC allocation of 1.766 million bpd; Nigeria’s crude oil production quota in May was 1.753 million bpd; June, 1.772 million bpd; July, 1.799 million bpd and August, 1.826 million bpd. The 1.024 million bpd production (through primary communication) in May, was about 195,000 bpd less production, when compared with April’s total of 1.219 million bpd, according to OPEC.
Egejuru, in her response, urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to intensify in its resolve to use technology in checking oil theft. She also urged the Federal Government and security agencies to block all loopholes fueling oil theft.
She said: “It is a true report and it is data from a verifiable source, which, of course, is not in the best interest of the country. So, I hope that report will assist government to do the needful. The report is definitely minus to Nigeria’s oil and gas growth.
“It is going to impact negatively. It shows us where we are and that we are going down the lather, which should not be. So, it is a welcome call on what should be done to take Nigeria to its former place.
“The low production has been detrimental to the national economic growth mores with the rising oil prices and the dire need for Nigeria to shore up her revenue since the country has been running a deficit budget and her debt has been rising.
“You can see that the inflation today is going to almost 25 per cent. Government should check this oil theft issue.”
She added: “All the international oil companies (IOCs) are leaving the country for other African nations such as Uganda, and Angola to the detriment of Nigeria. So all the lapses should be checked by the authority and government.
“The IOCs are leaving the country because they only realise 10 per cent of their production, while others go into oil theft. It is affecting their productivity and profit margin.
“Government should shore up the nation’s production capacity by addressing the inherent challenges that are staring them. They should do the needful. They should check for oil theft. That is the main thrust of the revenue drain. They should look inwards. Won’t we start refining our products by now?
“Why do we have to continue to import? There is pressure on naira for foreign exchange. The Federal Government is still subsiding premium motor spirit and we are spending so much on subsidy. These are the issues and they have data.
“The use of technology obviously will be helpful to check oil theft. Remember the past Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachukwu, part of his submissions was the use of technology. We are in technology and artificial intelligence era, we should make use of what is prevalent to do the needful.
“Also, security agencies need to up their game and improve their performance and check oil theft. They are the ones that guide the pipelines and other facilities. They have their responsibilities, so they should improve on their strategies.”