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Nigeria’s Oil Production Nears 1.7 Million Barrels Per Day, Says NNPC Chief Kyari

NNPC’s Kyari emphasised Nigeria’s potential to produce two million bpd, currently hindered by oil theft and pipeline vandalism in Niger Delta.

Mallam Mele Kyari

Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, announced that Nigeria’s oil production is approaching 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd).

He made this statement during a stakeholders’ engagement event in Lagos between the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) and the NNPC.

Kyari’s remarks come in the wake of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) report on May 14, which indicated that Nigeria’s average daily crude oil production rose to 1.28 million bpd in April.

Despite the current production figures, Kyari emphasised Nigeria’s potential to produce two million bpd, which is currently hindered by oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region. “It is not possible today,” Kyari said, pointing to ongoing security issues.

“The good news is, there is substantial work being done by the government, and I’m not going to speak about it. But I know that this will come to pass. It’s already subsiding. We are already seeing the results,” he said. Kyari noted that as of the latest data, production is inching towards 1.7 million bpd.

However, Kyari stressed that this figure is not yet a cause for celebration. He recalled that on April 17, 2020, during the COVID-19 lockdown, production surged to 2.2 million bpd without new drilling, as oil thieves and vandals were forced to halt their activities.

Kyari underscored the importance of securing infrastructure to sustain and increase oil production. “We should be able to take control of this infrastructure. We are doing many things. I am very sure things are changing and that is why we are seeing the new value that is coming on the table. Production will improve,” he stated.

To combat the ongoing security challenges, Kyari highlighted the need to address both theft and infrastructure issues. “How do you increase oil production? Remove the security challenge we have in our onshore assets. As we all know, the security challenge is real,” he said. He added that the company has removed over 5,800 illegal connections from its pipelines and taken down over 600 illegal refineries in the past two years.

Kyari criticised the reliance on barging and trucking oil, noting that these methods are neither normal nor economical. “Due to pipeline vandalism, everyone resorted to barging, with some spending $21 to transport a barrel of oil to the terminals. Barging is not normal. Barging is not economical, even trucking. In 1991, we didn’t think of barging, even to put oil on the trucks. But that’s what we are doing today,” he said.

He also discussed the importance of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline in creating the necessary infrastructure for gas supply. Kyari highlighted that the remaining work to connect the east and west involves a 2.7-kilometre river bridge, which is expected to be completed by the end of May or June, enabling gas to flow from east to west.

On April 24, 2023, Kyari announced that $1.1 billion had been released to finance the AKK gas pipeline project. The 614-kilometre pipeline, part of the Trans-Nigeria gas pipeline (TNGP), was initiated by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2020 to promote gas utilization and support the nation’s industrialization.

The project, which runs from Ajaokuta in Kogi to Kano, was initially scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2023.

Chioma Kalu

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