How We Increased Crude Oil Production To 1.7mbpd, Attracted $16.6Bn Investments -Lokpobiri

By Sunday Etuka, Abuja

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has disclosed that since assumption of office, the crude oil production in the country has been increased from 1.1 million barrels per day, including condensates, to about 1.7 million barrels per day with condensates.

This is even as he disclosed that the sector has attracted about $16.6billion in investments within the period.

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Senator Lokpobiri who spoke on Thursday during his Ministerial Briefing at the Media Centre, Radio House in Abuja, noted that $5billion and $10billion respectively in investments were committed in deepwater offshore assets; and $1.6bn investment committed in oil and gas asset acquisition.

He attributed the achievements to the administration’s relentless efforts to streamline operations and resolve conflicts among stakeholders.

The Minister added that “during this period, we also experienced the coming on stream of OMLs 13 (Sterling Exploration) and 85 (First E&P), with the respective assets reaching first oil in the development of their licenses. These assets are expected to produce an average of 20,000 and 40,000 barrels per day respectively.

“This achievement is another testament to the commitment of this administration to optimize production from the nation’s oil and gas assets by providing an enabling environment for existing and prospective investors”, he said.

He stated that the biggest challenge met by the administration was a dire lack of investment in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, due to the protracted passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and inconsistent government policies, which drove potential investment to other climates.

However, he said, “we recognized numerous impediments to our progress early on, such as: conflicts among partners, divestment issues, inconsistent policies, insecurity, and bureaucratic bottlenecks.

“Consequently, over the past nine months our efforts have been dedicated to removing these obstacles, restoring investor confidence, and ensuring an enabling environment for business in the oil and gas sector to thrive”, he noted.

According to him, the administration has also been working diligently to eliminate the bureaucracies and bottlenecks that have stifled investment for over a decade.

He said, “by resolving conflicting issues and fostering a more consistent policy and business friendly environment, we have made significant strides in attracting and sustaining investments in the sector”.

This, he said, has led to the extension of oil prospecting licenses to technically and financially capable indigenous and international companies all geared towards increasing production, and providing ministerial consent to companies to divest some of their equity in their assets to companies of proven technical and financial capability.

“As I have mentioned on numerous occasions you do not need to know me for me to sign off on your asset acquisition application, once you are of proven technical and financial capacity I will sign off!!!”, he said.

He further stated that the business-friendly efforts of this administration have rekindled investors’ confidence in the nation’s oil and gas sector and ensured the return of companies such as industry service providers who had earlier seized or greatly reduced operations in the notion’s shores due to the unfavourable business climate.

On downstream sector improvements, he said, “our efforts have extended to the downstream sector. The recent Christmas holiday period witnessed a festive season without fuel queues, a notable achievement attributed to the concerted efforts of stakeholders, especially the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

“This is alongside our policy of constant and continued engagement with critical industry stakeholders such as MEMAN and NARTO, IPMAN amongst others to ensure smooth and effective distribution of petroleum products across the nation”, he said.


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