Malam Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd. says resolving the security challenge in the Niger Delta will bring back investments to the oil and gas sector.
Kyari said the NNPC was working with security agencies and other stakeholders to address the issue of oil theft hindering Nigeria’s ability to meet its Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota.
Kyari spoke at the Association of Energy Correspondents of Nigeria (NAEC) Strategic International Conference on Thursday in Lagos.
The conference has as its theme, ” Energy Transition: “Shaping the Future of Nigeria’s Energy Industry, an Appraisal of PIA, Evolving Benefits and Challenges.”
He said NNPC’s target was to increase production and bring back domestic refining capacity to ensure energy security.
According to him, this is, however, being constrained by insecurity in the Niger Delta.
“As you are all aware, we’re doing everything possible to contain it. Security is a major challenge regarding crude oil theft.
“Yes, we understand today that our production is very low for two reasons. One, because of the security situation in the Niger Delta assets.
“But more than anything, it cannot stop us from investing in the assets and therefore you can’t have decline. Also, you’re unable to put money into it and expect to have high production.
“Resolving the security challenge will surely bring back investment and will also optimise the current availability or capacity that we have
“We know that with certainty that we will resolve the security issue and we can easily come to 2.1 million barrels of oil per day,” Kyari said.
He said the government was investing in infrastructure to drive the energy transition, collaborate with security agencies engage the investment community to secure financing.
Kyari said though financing was a huge challenge for the oil and gas sector, many institutions now recognised gas a clean energy and were willing to invest in development of Nigeria’s abundant gas resources.
“There is a shortage of supply across the globe and we know for sure that investment in this sector is clearly unavoidable,” he added.
He said NNPC had successfully resolved the disputes it had with IOCs, relating to upstream assets to further drive investments in the sector.
Kyari said: “We have signed off the Dispute Settlement Agreement with our partners in the last two to three weeks, completely.
“We have met the terms and conditions required by Petroleum Industry Act and also engaged our partners to have a win-win situation where all of us have given up on something.
“However, in the long term, we have gotten an opportunity for us to have investment in this sector.”
On their parts, Dr James Edet, President, Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, Prof. Olalekan Olafuyi, Chairman, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Nigeria Council and Ms Ololade Olubi, Senior Economist, Oando Energy Resources, decried the current spare of oil theft.
They maintained that the menace was depriving Nigeria of investors and revenue which had negatively affected the nation’s economy.