…As OPEC slashes global oil demand forecast over COVID-19 outbreak***
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Slyva, said that about one billion barrels of crude oil have been discovered in Northeastern part of Nigeria.
Sylva made the disclosure at a news Conference to end the 2020 Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS), in Abuja on Wednesday.
“The figure we are getting, the jury is not totally out yet but from the evaluation results we are getting the reserve that has been discovered in the northeast is about a billion barrels.
“Those are the kind of figures we are seeing and we are beginning to understand the geological structure of the region,” he said.
According to him, a lot of oil is yet to be found in the country.
He added that there was need for more exploration in the country as more oil would be discovered.
Commenting on passing of the Petroleum Industry Bill ( PIB) by June, he said that he was confident that it would be passed based on cordial relationship between the legislature and the executive.
“We are banking on the fact today to make that promise on the fact that there is a very cordial relationship now between the legislature and executive.
”Today Nigerians all agree that there is a need for us to pass the PIB.
”For so long we have been quivering about the PIB, for more than 20 years. And for so long, we have not been able to attract a lot of investment into the oil sector.
”Let me give you an example, by the year 2002, our oil reserves stood at around 22 billion barrels. We were able to grow that reserve from 22 billion barrels to 37 billion barrels by 2007.
”From 2007 to now, we have only been able to grow our reserves from 37 billion barrels to 37.5 billion barrels, in more than 10 years. Why? Not much investment is coming into Nigeria,” he added.
He noted that investors could not invest in Nigeria if the fiscal framework was shaking or uncertain.
“If nobody knows when laws will be passed, nobody will want to invest new capital in Nigeria. And that is why you see that we have almost been stagnant in the Nigerian oil industry.
So, we believe today that there is a consensus among all of us – industry, Nigerians and government – that there is a need to stabilise the fiscal framework so that investors will be certain and move their money to Nigeria.
”There are very great opportunities in Nigeria, and I believe if we can only stabilise the fiscal framework and bring peace to Nigeria, investments will flow into Nigeria.
“That is really what gives me the confidence to say that there is a consensus now among all patriotic Nigerians that in six months the PIB will be passed,” he added.
On revamping of the refinery, he said that rehabilitation of Port Harcourt refinery would start in the first quarter of 2020.
We are going to start the rehabilitation of the port Harcourt refinery which is the biggest refinery in Nigeria, if we are able to finish the port Harcourt refinery we would have achieved a lot as a government.“
“Meanwhile we are also continuing with studies around Warri refinery, we are also continuing discussions around Kaduna refineries,” he said.
In the meantime, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), on Wednesday said its Global forecast market demand for oil would grow more slowly than expected in 2020 because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The revision comes as OPEC and 10 additional oil producers led by Russia are mulling to take a further output cut in reaction to the outbreak at their meeting on March, 2019, in Vienna.
OPEC said global crude oil demand would expand by 990,000 barrels per day (bpd) to average 100.73 million bpd in 2020, which was 230,000 bpd less than the 14-country group had projected in January.
According to the cartel’s monthly market report, the demand for oil from OPEC countries would therefore, be 200,000 bpd lower in 2020 than previously expected.
“The outbreak of the Coronavirus in China during the first half of 2020 is the major factor behind this downward revision,” the report said.
The OPEC analysts noted that the spread of the Covid-19 disease affected demand for transporting fuel at China’s peak travel season for the Lunar New Year, as well as industrial sector in the world’s second biggest economy.
OPEC added that the outbreak would also slow down global economic growth in 2020.
However, its total oil output fell by 509,000 bpd to 28.86 million bpd from December to January, slightly reducing the cartel’s global market share to 28.8 per cent.
Additional reports from dpa