The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has announced that Nigeria’s crude oil output has escalated to about 1.9 million barrels per day as an indication of improved state of the nation’s economy.
Dr. Kachikwu disclosed this on Tuesday, November 22 during the inaugural meeting of the National Council for Hydrocarbon in Abuja. He added that the country will able to pay off the Joint Venture Cash Call arrears of $5.1 billion, owed to the International Oil Companies (IOC) within the five-years time frame.
Contrary to the 900,000 barrels per day drop since vandalism and sabotage by militants became the order of destruction of Nigeria’s oil pipelines, the increased output is a welcome development as 2016 is almost over.
However, the minister was prudent about the increasing oil yield as he quote:
“In terms of crude oil output, we are still not where we should be. These days, I am always conscious about giving figures so that I do not attract attention unnecessarily.
“Obviously, the Forcados incident did impact us. My guess is that we are moving closer to 1.9 million barrels per day at this point. We are still managing the issue.”
He explained that the Joint Venture Cash Calls arrears payment agreement states that payment from incremental oil production will not affect Nigeria’s budget production benchmark of 2.2 million barrels per day. According to him, Nigeria owed the IOCs 6.8 billion dollars but were granted a discount of 1.7 billion dollars, leaving a debt of 5.1 billion dollars to be repaid.
Kachikwu also stated that the National Council on Hydrocarbon approved by President Muhammadu Buhari would function as an advisory body and would contribute ideas that would be used in policy formulation in the petroleum industry. Therefore he invited all Nigerians, especially people from oil-producing communities to participate in creating ideas that can be used to formulate favourable oil policies in the country.