The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari, on Friday, rejected a proposal by the Senate Committee on Appropriation to increase the crude oil production benchmark in the 2024 appropriation bill from 1.7 million barrels per day to 1.8mp/d.
Kyari also gave an update on the Turn Around Maintenance of the nation’s four refineries.
He told the senators that the nation’s refineries would soon become operational and that it would lead to energy security.
He insisted that the Port Harcourt refinery would come on stream in December, while Warri refinery would resume production in first quarter of 2024.
The NNPC GCEO gave December 2024, as production target of the Kaduna refinery.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Solomon Adeola, had made a proposal regarding the oil benchmark at the Budget Defence session between his Committee and management of the NNPC.
The federal government in the appropriation bill estimated average crude oil production benchmark of 1.78m barrels per day and crude oil price benchmark of $77.96.
The NNPC GCEO told the Committee that the national oil company would stick to the benchmark approved by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the proposed budget.
Kyari, submitted that the crude oil price and production benchmarks were based on dynamics in the global oil market.
He said, “I will advise that we stick to the submission of Mr. President on the quota. There is no way we will get crude oil less than $70.
“Once economies are growing, there will be sustained demands for crude oil in our country and other countries.
“The estimates supplied by Mr. President is realistic. When we say production, we mean total production of crude oil and condensates.
“So we combine condensates and crude oil as total marginal production. So we know our estimates is realistic. There is no curtailment on condensates from OPEC.”
Kyari, however cautioned that security challenge in the Niger Delta Region could frustrate the projections of the federal government, citing crude oil theft.
The NNPC GCEO told the gathering of lawmakers and journalists that illegal crude oil bunkering in the oil producing states were alarming as he revealed that there were over 4,800 illegal connections on crude oil pipelines.
“The situation we have in Niger Delta in terms of security is a calamity. We don’t have that anywhere in the world.
“To engage non-state actors as last resort as solution is abnormal. But we have to respond abnormally. You have over 4800 illegal connections on our pipelines.
“That means, within every kilometer, you have an insertion. Even if you seal all the insertions, you can’t get what you want in terms of production. In the Niger Delta, people are coming from all parts of the country to do illegal refining. That’s why we engage locals to deal with it.
“We will contain this challenge. We are doing everything possible to restore sanity. What is happening is a colossal damage to the environment and the host communities.”
The lawmakers frowned at the N406 billion remitted to the Federation Account as dividend between July to November from the NNPC, as they dismissed it as nothing to cheer about.
The lawmakers tasked the management of the oil giant to strive to be like its global peers, citing the Saudi Aramco and the Petrobas of Brazil.
Kyari, in his defence, declared that until the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill into law, the company was not run like a profit driven enterprise.
Sunday Aborisade in Abuja