The nation’s crude oil exploration and production activities may have hit a record low, going by the latest report from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Specifically, only Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Addax carried out exploration/drilling activities during the month of March, according to available data from NNPC’s monthly report obtained.
The country has been recording low production activities since November last year, as several oil and gas firms began scaling down production due to the uncertainties surrounding the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and the declining crude oil prices.
Many oil and gas firms have also been recording losses, which made them to resort to cancelling or deferring projects.
According to OPEC in its monthly oil market report, among member countries, Nigeria recorded the second sharpest drop in rig counts in March with production of 1.69mbpd in the month compare to the 2.21mbpd recorded in the corresponding month of 2014.
The slump in exploration, development, and production activities has been tied to rising insecurity in producing areas such as oil theft, pipeline sabotage and more importantly, NNPC’s funding cuts on JV projects.
Of particular note, NNPC’s inability to meet cash call obligation to JV partners appears to have been exacerbated by the significant fall in oil revenue. NNPC said that total wellhead gross production for the month was 60.60 million barrels.
This figure, it noted, was short of actual as wellhead production data from some companies was not available. “Terminal production total for the month was about 64.16 million barrels representing 2.07 million barrels per day and 3.72 per cent higher over production of 61.86 million barrels or 2.21 million barrels per day in February 2015”, it said.
NNPC disclosed that total crude oil and condensates lifting for both domestic and export was about 62.68 million barrels. It added that oil companies lifted about 35.55 million barrels , while NNPC lifted 27.12 million barrels. “Lifting by fiscal regime shows 30.35, 26.44, and 5.89 million barrels for JVC, PSC/SC, and Others respectively.