Total Raises Concerns over Depleting Oil Reserves

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By Peter Uzoho

Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited has expressed concerns over what it described as the continuous depletion of Nigeria’s oil and gas reserves.
The multinational stressed that the situation portends serious danger to the nation’s future economic sustainability.

The Managing Director of Total E&P Nigeria, Mr. Mike Sangster, said this while delivering a keynote address during a recent virtual Technical Session of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE).

NAPE had in October last year warned that the reduction in hydrocarbon exploration and steady depletion of the oil and gas reserves would drive Nigeria into “risks of long-term disruption to oil and gas supplies, power generation, collapse of industries and significant loss of revenue”.

Sangster, however, attributed the oil reserves’ depletion to uncertain fiscal and regulatory regimes, policies that make new investments unattractive and uncompetitive, and low oil prices, amongst others.

“As a body of explorationists, you, like every keen observer of the industry, should be concerned that as we deplete our oil and gas reserves as a nation, there are no proportionate exploration activities to ensure long term sustainability and replenishment of the resource that accounts for more than 90 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

“Combination of factors which include uncertain fiscal and regulatory regimes, policies that make new investments unattractive and uncompetitive, low oil prices, etc, are easily to blame for this development,” Sangster said.

He said Total, as a key stakeholder in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, was prepared to work with the government, partners, and other stakeholders to address the bottlenecks to new exploration investments.

According to him, “I expect this session to also focus on these issues, even if this is not the topic of today’s technical meeting.”

Sangster reiterated the oil major’s commitment to continue supporting Nigeria always, particularly in this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: “We are all aware of the raging COVID-19 pandemic which has held the world hostage for several months now. The adverse effect on lives and businesses, especially the oil and gas industry cannot be overemphasised.

“Total rose to the clarion call of the federal government along with its partners, led by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), by contributing to a donation of N21 billion in support of the federal government’s COVID-19 efforts.

“Total’s contribution was $3.2million (N1.2billion). The company also supported the Lagos State Government with critical supplies and medical equipment. In Rivers State, we reached out to our stakeholders by providing medical supplies and support for our host communities and the state government.”

He disclosed that their downstream company, Total Nigeria Plc, donated N50million as part of a combined contribution from the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), under the auspices of the NNPC and provided the Lagos State Government with fuel for logistical support during the pandemic,” he said.

He said Nigeria remains crucial to the Total Group, as the country accounts for around 10 per cent of its equity production, explaining that Total has also invested approximately $10billion in the country in recent years.