The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has expressed his desire and determination to deliver over 2 million barrels per day of crude oil production by the end of the year.
Senator Lokpobiri disclosed his ambition at a meeting with journalists, under the umbrella of Energy Correspondents Association of Nigeria (ECAN), Abuja, on Friday.
The Minister who said, the target could only be possible with stakeholders’ collaboration, disclosed that the country has been on steady production between 1.3 and 1.4 million barrels, exclusive of condensate.
“We are steadily increasing production. As of last month, it was 1.1 million barrels. As of today, we have increased to 1.3, 1.4 million, exclusive of condensate. If you include condensate, it will be about 1.7 million, or thereabout. For the purposes of budgets, condensate is included. But as I get the reports from relevant authorities, today we are doing about 1.4 million barrels of crude, exclusive of condensate. But with condensate, 1.7 million. So, we are steadily increasing.
“But our target is to see how we can hit 2 million and beyond, by the end of the year. And this can only be possible if all stakeholders put their hands on deck to ensure that that happens”, Lokpobiri said.
He blamed the abysmal crude oil production in the sector on insecurity, assuring that the problems have been identified and are gradually being tackled.
“The reason why we are not performing well is because of insecurity. We are gradually tackling those problems. I have had cause to interact with some of the stakeholders in the sector. And my engagement with them is already yielding results. And that is why you are seeing a steady rise in production.
“We still have a long way to go. But we have identified where the problem is, where we are getting the shortfall. And we are already engaging them. And in the next few weeks, we will be able to give you how far we have gone in that direction”, he said.
The Minister emphasised the need to earn enough forex by increasing the barrels of crude oil production to solve the country’s numerous problems.
“If you recall what I said on the day I assumed office, I said our sole agenda is to increase production. Once you increase production, there will be more revenue for Nigeria. And that is the recipe for all our problems in this country. Over dependent on oil.
“If you look at our budget, it is predicated on how many barrels of crude oil we produce, so for us to solve our problems we need to earn enough forex and the substantial part of our forex comes from oil. My ambition is to see how I can lead the sector to increase production. So that we can generate more revenue for strategic national projects in the country”, he said.
Senator Lokpobiri who assures of visible difference at the end of the year, said, he is in talks with all the stakeholders beginning with the International Oil Companies (IOCs), to the Independent Oil Producers, the Local Producers those in the Mainstream, those in the Downstream, to those who are at Local Refining, and addressing their problems one after the other.
“Once I identify a problem, I always provide a solution to it. And we are willing and able to provide those solutions. some of the solutions may not be immediate, but once we identify them, we start to put frameworks together to address those problems. But I want to assure you that we’ve just been here for a few weeks. We have been here for less than two months, but I can assure you that by the end of the year, a lot of us will see a visible difference”, Lokpobiri said.
He expressed his readiness to work with the ECAN to drive his agenda.
“We are ready to interact with you. We will try as much as possible to walk with you. To solicit your absolute support in driving our agenda”, the Minister said.