by Our Correspondent
An oil industry expert, Dr Victor Ekpenyong has said that the country should leverage on existing oil reserves to boost oil production to earn more to meet revenue shortfalls.
Ekpenyong, who is the Chief Executive of Kenyon International West Africa Ltd, a Well Control Services firm made the call during an interactive session with journalists in Yenagoa on the state of the oil industry.
He applauded the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) for ongoing repairs on major oil export pipelines noted that upon conclusion of repair schedules, export capacity would rise significantly.
The oil expert noted that vandalism, oil theft has hampered the country’s oil production and kept the nation from harnessing its full production capacity.
He explained that oil production was being limited by breach of pipelines that evacuate crude from oilfields to export terminals.
He noted that with the rebound of the Forcados Export Terminal which has been out of service, there will be an increase of export capacity by at least 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) when scheduled repairs on the export trunkline is completed in the next one week.
He said that there was need to revive idle assets to boost oil production to meet the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota of 1.8 million bpd quota for Nigeria.
Ekpenyong noted that there was existing production capacity to meet the shortfall in production from a little over one million bpd current output.
“Reports available from NNPCL have it that repairs on Trans Forcados Export Trunkline is almost concluded and the Forcados Export Terminal will be up again and it has capacity to handle up to 400,000 bpd of oil export.
“The sections of the Trans Niger Delta Pipeline (TNP) which feeds the Bonny Crude Export Terminal is also scheduled to be ready as well so we need to revamp the idle wells to produce enough to meet our OPEC quota and earn more revenue,” Ekpenyong said.
He noted that the country was yet to produce more and leverage the supply cuts occasioned by the Russian-Ukrainian crisis which has pushed up international crude oil prices.
He further noted that proposed divestments by the government from oil assets in non producing oil reserves would provide opportunities for investors to enter into partnerships with the government to increase oil production.
He stated that the challenges being faced due to the deregulation of the downstream sector would be overcome as soon as efforts to increase domestic refining capacity begins to yield results.
“The efforts being made by the government to increase local refining is very massive, I learnt the rehabilitation work at Port Harcourt refinery has gone far for the President to promise that the plant will be back in December.
“There is also ongoing work in Warri Refinery and these will increase local production of refined petroleum products and reduce imports and subsequent pressure on the naira at the foreign exchange market,” Ekpenyong said.
He said that NNPCL remained the dominant importer of refined petroleum products and expressed that the $3 billion facility being put in place by the government would enable more private sector players to augment the supppy deficit.