By Chika Amanze-Nwachuku
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Wednesday restated its determination to ensure continued increase in crude oil production from the current to 2.4 million barrels per day (mbpd) to higher level by 2013 and to all time high of 4mbpd by 2020.
Also, the corporation is said to be mounting a greater effort to repair damaged oil facilities to help push exports of Nigeria’s crude oil.
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday presented the 2013 budget proposal to the National Assembly, which was pegged on oil production of 2.53mbpd at a benchmark price of $75 a barrel.
The resurgence of attacks on oil facilities has resulted in shut in of a chunk of Nigeria’s crude in recent past. Last week, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) was prompted to shut down the Bomu-Bonny trunkline and deferred 150,000bpd of oil, after a fire caused by attempt by vandals to steal crude from the pipeline.
But to forestall further crude losses and theft, the NNPC said it was working closely with security forces and other industry players to stem crude theft and vandalism of oil pipelines.
The corporation also said it was working in collaboration with International Oil Companies to grow Nigeria’s crude oil production and reserves.
“The NNPC is working very hard along with its Joint Venture partners to actualise the country’s aspiration of growing its crude oil reserves and production.
“We have been working closely with security forces and other industry players to stem crude theft and vandalism on the pipelines and this has yielded results with the fall in crude thefts in recent times”, acting Group General Manager, at the Group Public Affairs Division (GPAD), Mr. Fedel Pepple said in a two- paragraph statement last night.
Following the acquisition of oil blocks OMLs 4, 26, 30, 34, 38, 40, 41 and 42, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the production arm of the NNPC, has set a production target of 265,000bpd in the next two years.
But an oil industry expert told THISDAY that lack of fresh investments owing to the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) could lead to drastic reduction in oil production in the next couple of years.
He said since no new projects are coming on stream due to the long delay in PIB passage, the crude output is bound to fall; a development, which he said could adversely affect the 2013 budget implementation.