Nigeria unveils incentives for oil investors, insists on 40bn bbls reserves

Nigeria has declared fiscal incentives that will attract investments in all its basins and help drive its ambition to hit 40 billion barrels in its oil reserves.

Country’s Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, who made this declaration at the opening of the 38th Annual International Conference of the National Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) in Lagos, maintained that the provisions for the incentives have already been included in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly.

The conference has “Accelerating Growth in Nigeria’s Hydrocarbon Reserves: Emerging Concepts, Challenges and Opportunities.’’ as its theme.

Represented by the minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, Osinbajo maintained that government was committed to growing Nigeria’s oil reserves, which currently stand at 36.89 billion barrels to 40 billion barrels. The gas reserves also stand at 203.16 trillion cubic feet, according to the latest data from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

“In order to grow our reserves, we have proposed fiscal incentives that will attract investments in all our basins in the PIB.

“In addition, the fiscal provisions for gas business will be one of the most attractive in Africa.

“Therefore, opportunities abound for geoscientists, engineers and numerous other service providers in the shortest time to come,” Osinbajo declared

He continued; “In order to significantly grow our hydrocarbon reserves, we need to invest immensely in research and development so as to support the industry.

“We need effective synergy and collaboration between policy makers, academic institutions, professional bodies, oil and gas industry players and the research and development centres.

“They need to come up with innovative ideas and technology for cost-effective exploratory and drilling activities.’’

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on crude oil prices, the vice President continued, had made it imperative to reduce the unit cost of production to 10 dollars per barrel. All hands must be on deck to achieve the target, he said..

According to him, the government is also focussed on ensuring the growth of the country’s reserve base to at least 40 billion barrels of crude oil, as well as the production capacity to three million barrels of oil per day.

“We are fully committed to this mandate and confident that we will achieve the desired goal of finding more hydrocarbon deposits in the Nigerian basins notwithstanding the curtailment in production.

“We have the assurance that production curtailment will soon be over as the world economy improves,’’ the vice-president added.

In his opening remarks, the President of NAPE, Mr Alex Tarka, noted that COVID-19 pandemic had an adverse impact on the oil and gas industry, stressing that the conference would provide opportunities for stakeholders to deliberate on the way forward.

Reduction in exploration and production activities had, according to the NAPE boss, dire consequences for Nigeria due to the country’s dependence on crude oil as the mainstay of its economy.

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