By John Meze
Nigeria’s crude oil reserve, which would have been its fail-save during periods of down-turn in the oil and gas industry, has been depleting due to the failure of the country to encourage exploration and production which in-turn would have been boosting its reserves.
to Andrew Obaje, former Director of the country’s Department of Petroleum
Resources(DPR), in an exclusive interview with the NextMoney Magazine, informed
that Nigeria stopped producing from new oil wells, when the oil bloc
bid-rounds was abruptly brought to a stop over 13 years ago.
Since then, he said, the country has rather been exploiting old wells which outputs had been determined without output-addition from new producing wells as would be expected.
Obaje, stated that the touted increase in output of the country’s oil and gas
is nothing but the outputting from wells which productions were one way or the
other stalled by either the activities of militants or other forces.
The former Director of DPR asserted that contrary to the widely held believe that the country is experiencing growth and foreign direct investment in the oil and gas industry, it is quickly retrogressing.
He stated that aside from the stoppage of the bid rounds which would have ushered-in competition and growth as well reserve addition, another cog in the wheels of the industry is the government lack of political will to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB) which had been broken into Four with the hope of a speedy passage.
Obaje, said that vested interests from the government which does not want to
lose its discretionary powers in allocating oil blocs as well as those of
powerful individual at the corridors of power in the country had been hampering
the passage of the PIB which would have to a larger extent opened up the
industry to foreign direct investments.
further stated that this unimpressive situation in the oil and gas industry of
the nation would go a long way to affect the government’s drive to further
diversify the economy, since the source through which it can do it is seemingly
stalled by some the issues raised.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is the sole body saddled with the licensing and auctioning of oil wells in the country, among a host of other duties, however, the President and Minister of Petroleum Resources may override such function with the discretionary powers conferred on their positions.