Despite having the largest oil reserves and resources in Africa, Nigeria only benefitted five per cent investment within the last five years.
This was disclosed in Abuja yesterday by the Managing Director, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, Mr. Mike Sangster at the ongoing virtual Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) Conference and Exhibition with the theme: ‘Accelerating Growth in Nigeria’s Hydrocarbon Reserves: Emerging Concepts, Challenges and Opportunities.’
Delivering the keynote address at the management session of the conference, titled ‘Future of Oil and Gas Industry in Low Oil Price Environment: Survival Strategies,’ Sangster raised concerns over the country’s inability to optimise its opportunities and strengths.
Represented by the Deputy Managing Director, Deep Water District, Total E&P, Mr. Victor Bandele, he stressed the need for innovative technology deployment, collaboration by all industry players, reduction in the incidence of oil theft and the quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to drive down costs and attract more investments into the sector.
According to him, a progressive and win-win PIB would, no doubt, be the catalyst needed for a new wave of hydrocarbon exploration and development investment in the country to further attract more capital investment in an ever more competitive world.
His words: “Nigeria has only benefitted from less than five per cent of all investments in oil and gas in Africa between 2015 and 2019 despite having the largest reserves. This is a fact; we are the giant of Africa, we have the resources in Africa, but the investment that has come to Nigeria in the last five years has been 5% of what has been put into Africa.
“That is to say that, the $3 billion invested in Nigerian projects, which took final investment decision between 2015 and 2019 accounts for five per cent of all oil and gas funds invested in Africa. When we say it’s $3 billion, it appears to be big, but I dare say, it’s a far cry.
“No major investment decision was taken in deep water Nigeria between 2015 and 2019, despite a number of available potentially viable projects and almost all the companies have one or two projects that are in the pipeline, that they have discovered and been working on.
So, it’s not a matter of resources being there; resources are there discovered, but we have not developed in the last five years.
“Uncompetitive fiscal terms and increasing cost are the major drivers of this decision that is not making us to go forward. Most of the licences are also getting to expire, the question is: what happens when my license expires, where will I find myself based on the fiscal terms we have on ground?”
While urging the Federal Government to provide an enabling environment for investors, he maintained that Total E&P had invested approximately $10 billion in the country from 2013 till date, and would continue to hold faith in Nigeria.
Chairman, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Olatunji Akinwunmi, decried the huge gap between exploration achievements and the enormous potentials in the oil and gas sector in the past decade.
Akinwunmi, who is the Executive General Manager, GSR Deepwater in Total E&P, further raised concerns over the several stranded but potentially cash-accretive major discoveries in the deep water, with no immediate development strategy in sight