Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Hopes for a quick rebound of Nigeria’s crude oil production to pre-January 2016 levels of 2.2 million barrels per day, suffered another setback at the weekend following the attack on the pipeline operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), and resulting in the loss of 10,000 barrels per day (b/d).
THISDAY checks late yesterday evening in Abuja revealed that the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) on Friday claimed they blew up the Nembe 1, 2, and 3 trunk lines which link the Brass and Bonny terminals in Bayelsa State in the early hours of the morning.
Agip sources however told the paper that the attack led to the shut-in of about 10,000b/d with Agip suffering production loss of 4,000b/d equity.
The development follows disclosure on Friday by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu that there were possible cracks in the federal government’s reported dialogue with militants in the Delta, hence, the resumption of hostilities.
Kachikwu who hopes the country will claw back its lost production volumes within July, disclosed that up to 1.9 million barrels were still being produced by Nigeria.
He also explained when he handed over management duties at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to its new Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru that he was going to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to fix the alleged crack and breakdown in the dialogue.
“We are working on it (dialogue with militants) and I need to meet with Mr. President for I just returned and obviously there’s a lot more engagement that is required. There are gaps that seem to have developed and I need to understand what issues warranted that. But we will work towards closing those gaps,” he had said.
Also in a related development, Baru who took over from Kachikwu has said he would adopt to achieve a 12-point agenda at the NNPC, which will include the creation of an all-inclusive internal advisory council on security.
Baru said in a statement from the Group General Manager, Public Affairs of NNPC, Mallam Garba Deen Muhammad that the security council will comprise of representatives from the corporation; International Oil Companies (IOCs); oil workers unions and security operatives in the country and will brainstorm and address host community agitations in oil producing areas.
He said the council would complement existing efforts of the government’s security team.
According to Baru, the NNPC under his watch will equally undertake new business models in its operations; grant autonomy to its strategic business units (SBUs) and autonomous business units (ABU) as well as provide relevant directions and control that would ensure their growth and profitability.
He noted that he would, while exploring ways of relieving the government from the burden of cash calls obligation, address and defray the agreed cash call arrears of IOCs and restore oil and gas production.
Other areas he disclosed that will take his attention include, increasing Nigeria’s crude oil production through the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC); review of all weak contractual agreements and terminate bad ones as appropriate; as well as repair and restoration of oil and gas pipeline infrastructure in the country.
Baru said he will also set up a robust security system to detect and deter vandalism of oil assets in conjunction with existing security arrangement. He said the NNPC under him will equally upgrade its commitment to renewable energy and frontier exploration services.