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Nigeria’s crude oil production rebound excites indigenous expert

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By SAM JONES

YENAGOA (Sundiata Post) – Nigeria’s rebound as largest crude oil producer in Africa has excited an indigenous player in the oil and gas sector, Mr. Victor Ekpenyong.

Mr. Ekpenyong applauded the Federal Government for the recent rebound as oil production data from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) showed Nigeria produced between 1.35 million and 1.23 million barrels of crude oil daily in November and December last year.

An OPEC report said that Nigeria has overtaken Angola and Algeria, who are now in second and third positions respectively due to the increased production in November and December respectively.

Reacting to the development on Wednesday, Ekpenyong described the rebound as a great development for the Nigerian oil industry as it is expected to boost employment in the sector.

According to him, prior to the improvement recorded in November and December, many oil workers lost their jobs while some oil companies were forced to shut down due to unsustainable oil theft and pipeline vandalism. 

His words: “It was a great relief to know that Nigeria ramped up production in the last quarter of last year as it produced 1.35 million barrels per day (bpd).

“I would like to commend the Minister of Petroleum and President of Nigeria, Muhamadu Buhari, and Minister of State for Petroleum for the efforts put in to ensure that we optimise production in the last quarter of 2022. 

“I equally crave their indulgence to continue relating with the local communities who dwell around pipeline installations and other oil and gas assets.

“We can really do more because we do have the capacity to produce over 2.53 million bpd. Let’s see how we can optimise this a little further to get the resources we need for running this country.”

He noted that the OPEC report for December revealed Angola and Alegria’s production levels stood at 1.08 million and 1.01 million bpd, respectively.

According to Ekpenyong, the African continent has a long way to go as bulk of its production was for export.

He explained that Africa has not performed optimally as it ought to as the continent is known for centuries to be a place for sourcing raw materials, and there is a need to start changing the narrative. 

He said that it was regrettable that almost 90 per cent of oil produced in Africa is exported and Nigeria, the largest producer of oil and Angola the second largest producer of oil, all import petroleum products. 

He equally observed that Ghana with a population of 34 million citizens imports petroleum products and does not have functional refineries.

He, however, expressed satisfaction with Algeria, with a population of 44 million people that refines 50 percent of their production incountry.  

He observed that as someone who is well travelled, it is a flaw in Africa’s system to export 100 per cent of their production and then import petroleum products stressing there is need for the African continent to do better.

On the level of oil theft and vandalism, Ekpenyong, an Oil Well Control specialist and Chief Executive of Kenyon International West Africa Company Limited, an oil services firm with expertise in oil well security, described the scenario as terrible

“It is terrible, Why I say it is terrible is because my company, Kenyon International West Africa Company Limited, happened to be a company facing this issue in the Niger Delta. A year ago, we had a serious oil spill in Nembe, and Kenyon helped restore the environment to normal. 

“So many oil companies are battling to stop this menace going on in the Niger Delta with many adverse effects such as the water being polluted, and the environment polluted as well. Consequently, our economy is adversely affected. We have what it takes to get what we want, but we cannot get it how we want it.  

“It is indeed a big challenge to us. I equally commend the Federal Government through the leadership of the President and the Minister of State for Petroleum. They are doing their best to tackle this issue, and that is why we have improved yields, because a year ago, production was below a million bpd.”

Ekpenyong recalled the he had advised that Nigeria should engage the locals in host communities as they are closer to oil installations and can identify know intruders. 

“Thankfully, they have engaged some locals in a few host communities, and we now can see the favourable results of that decision to relate with locals in host communities.”

Speaking on steps to sustain the country’s leadership in oil output, Ekpenyong said the Federal Government’s initiative has worked and yielded results.

He advised the country to do more and keep on engaging host communities so they can work together to boost production as Nigeria has the capacity to produce more to earn more resources to effectively run the country. 

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