The Nigerian government has confirmed the discovery of crude oil in Borno State in Northeastern part of the country.
The disclosure was made by the permanent secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Jamila Shua’ra during her presentation of the 2016 petroleum sector scorecard in Abuja.
According to her “Our doggedness culminated in the discovery of oil in new frontiers, Lagos and Borno.”
“Today, as a team, we have recorded commendable achievements in our sector: the introduction of the PMS Price Modulation Matrix; the availability of PMS in all outlets; eradication of payment on fuel subsidies; located foreign direct investment to finance midstream oil and gas infrastructure; adopted exit strategies on Joint Venture Cash Call; robust engagement of host communities to reduce agitations; creation of more stable industrial relations.”
Collaborating her statement, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated that the deregulation of the downstream sector, which led to the elimination of petroleum subsidy, saved the government a burden of N15.4 billion monthly.
The Vice President said that the oil and gas sector remained very critical to the stability and growth of the nation’s economy, as it accounts for about 90 percent of the country’s earnings.
He also said that the sector contributes substantially to the inflow of foreign exchange and growth of foreign reserves.
Professor Osinbajo further stated that the Federal Executive Council had recently approved new measures and strategies aimed at eliminating the burden of Joint Venture Cash Call arrears and easing future payments in the up-stream sector.
The strategies, he said, are fully supported by the National Economic Council.
According to him, the measures will boost additional investments and raise daily production levels to about 2.8 million barrels per day (mbpd) in the long-run.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu said that one of the fallouts of the removal of petroleum subsidy was the decline of the nation’s daily consumption of the premium motor spirit (PMS), from the 50 million litres per day (mlpd) previously to the current figure 28mlpd.
On the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta, the minister said negotiations were at top gear, as government targets to achieve zero militancy for the industry in 2017.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Upstream Petroleum, Senator Omotayo Donald, in his speech, commended the petroleum resources ministry for embarking on the reforms.
He pledged that the National Assembly would support the efforts with all the legal backing required to achieve the transformation of the sector.
Senator Donald assured Nigerians that the first part of the Petroleum Industry Bill would be passed by the National Assembly in the first quarter of 2017.
He further advocated the inclusion of the local content requirement in every phase of the reform being initiated in the sectors.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s oil production has risen to close to 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd), ahead of the expected signing of a deal over repayments of $5.1 billion in debts from joint venture projects.
The deal is between Nigeria government and ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch, She’ll, Eni and Chevron.