Nigeria’s federal government on Saturday announced that it had secured a $13.5 billion investment commitment from International Oil Companies (IOCs) as well as independent producers to boost the country’s crude output in the next 12 months.
The Special Adviser to the President on Energy, Mrs. Olu Verheijen, in a statement posted on the State House’s website, said the partnership was carried out alongside the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).
Explaining that the engagements, which began recently have now been wrapped up with 15 leading operators, Verheijen noted that the sessions where the multi-billion-dollar pledges were secured were held in Lagos and Abuja.
Nigeria has been unable to meet its Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota for over 36 months, prompting the group to slash the country’s allocation from over 1.8 million barrels per day to 1.742 million bpd for this year and then to 1.38 million bpd in 2024.
The situation has heavily impacted the liquidity in the foreign exchange market in Nigeria, as the country earns over 90 per cent of its FX from the export of crude oil. Nigeria blames massive oil theft and incessant asset vandalism for the challenge.
The last THISDAY’s analysis of the oil sector’s underperformance earlier in September, showed that the nation was losing as much as 560, 000 bpd to prolonged underproduction.
But in the latest move to halt the dwindling production, Verheijen pointed out that the conclusions were arrived at after a detailed review process by NUPRC and her office, alongside major operators like Chevron, Total, Shell, NAOC, Exxon Mobil, Seplat, Heirs Holdings, Waltersmith, First E&P, among others.
A key objective of the discussions, she said, was to advance a presidential initiative aimed at addressing the nation’s revenue emergency while contributing to stabilising Nigeria’s economy.
“Results of these talks disclosed significant investment opportunities with an estimated $55.2 billion in investments projected by 2030, of which $13.5 billion is expected to be invested by these companies within 12 months from now.
“During these consultations, participating operators shared insights into the challenges and barriers affecting their investment strategies and the swift rollout of planned projects.
“Collectively, they also pinpointed key strategies that will ensure the delivery of 2.1 million barrels per day by December 2024, positioning Nigeria well ahead of President Tinubu’s campaign promise of the 2.6 million barrels by 2027,” Verheijen stated.
The proposed measures, she disclosed, are also expected to cause a 100 per cent increase in gas production by 2027, exceeding the president’s campaign pledge of 20 per cent growth in that sector.
She noted that the federal government remains committed to overcoming the current challenges, to make Nigeria the top choice for energy sector investments.
“We are faced with a revenue crisis, which is impacting all Nigerians. To urgently address this, President Bola Tinubu is actively seeking ways to grow revenue and forex to stabilise our economy and currency.
“The oil and gas sector remains critical to our ability to do so despite current production levels falling significantly short of our potential.
“These strategic, high-level engagements with oil and gas producers will help fast-track bold reforms that will unlock investments required to restore and grow oil and gas production in the short, medium, and long term,” she explained.
According to her, Tinubu is dedicated to enhancing the investment environment in Nigeria, positioning the country as the preferred destination in Africa for the energy sector.
“With the conclusion of these consultations, it is anticipated that the $13.5 billion in short-term investment components, currently in the pipeline, will pave the way for the delivery of 2.1 million barrels per day production by December 2024, barring any unforeseen challenges,” she added.
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja