* Baker Hughes to invest in Nigeria’s refineries after meeting with Lokpobiri
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, said at the weekend that Nigeria remains on track to surpass the crude oil production quota handed down to the country by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Last week, at the 36th OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial meeting, the producers’ group projected that Nigeria could only achieve an oil production quota of 1.5 million barrels per day in 2024.
That was after a week-long intense negotiations that saw the parties agree to raise the country’s production quota for next year, from 1.38 million bpd to 1.5 million bpd by the oil cartel.
Three consultancy firms, IHS, Rystad Energy, and Wood Mackenzie had countered Nigeria’s submission that it was ready to produce as much as the current 1.742 million bpd for next year.
But in their findings, the research firms projected that despite Nigeria’s pledges, the situation on the ground did not show that it could even meet the 1.58 million barrels per day initially being debated.
However, the minister who gave an incline as to how the proceedings went, stated in a post on his official X/Twitter handle at the weekend that Nigeria currently produces 1.5 million barrels of crude oil per day.
The minister expressed the confidence that the country will surpass the projections in the 2024 budget.
However, THISDAY’s findings showed that the minister was talking about the combination of crude oil and condensates. Condensates are usually outside OPEC’s computation in handing down quotas for member countries and allies like Russia. Nigeria’s production in October was 1.35 million bpd.
The OPEC quota of 1.5 million bpd for 2024 also appeared to be at variance with President Bola Tinubu’s forecast in the proposed 2024 budget, wherein Nigeria adopted a daily oil production estimate of 1.78 million bpd.
Lokpobiri said: “Arising from the 36th OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial meeting held via video conferencing, I stated that Nigerians should know that our total production currently is 1.5 million bpd for crude and 300,000 bpd for condensate.
“So what we are producing is much more than what is projected in the 2024 budget estimate and as such, there is nothing to worry about.
“However, it is worthy of note, that there was a general production cut across all OPEC member nations in our last meeting in June of this year. So it was not only Nigeria but all OPEC member states agreed to the 10 per cent cut.
“We are on track with the objective of maintaining and surpassing the quota, especially as we work productively towards resolving all bottlenecks that might pose as hindrances to the objective.”
The authorities had at various times promised to meet the OPEC quota, which Nigeria has failed to fulfil in at least three years, by latest this December. This seems not practical, although production has increased marginally in the last few months.
Meanwhile, to sustain the country’s drive for increased production, Lokpobiri has engaged in a pivotal meeting on the sidelines of the ongoing 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) with the Chairman of Baker Hughes, Mr. Lorenzo Simonelli.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the minister on Media and Communications, Nneamaka Okafor, said the meeting marked a significant milestone as Baker Hughes, a global energy technology company, expressed keen interest in sustaining and enhancing its investment in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
Simonelli, the statement said, conveyed Baker Hughes’ commitment to contributing to the energy transformation agenda of the current administration led by Tinubu.
The chief executive emphasised the company’s readiness to collaborate with the federal government in advancing sustainable energy practices, aligning with the goals of the ongoing COP28.
“Nigeria is a blessed nation with vast potential and great opportunities in diverse sectors. As a partner with the federal government over the years, we are inspired to direct investment in the refinery domain of the oil and gas.
“Therefore, whatever that we can do to support to get started, I am willing to do that even now,” the Baker Hughes chief stated.
During the discussions, he also reiterated Baker Hughes’ commitment to supporting Nigeria’s efforts in achieving energy sustainability.
He acknowledged the critical role the country plays in the global energy landscape and emphasised the importance of public-private partnerships in driving meaningful progress.
In his remarks, Lokpobiri commended the oil servicing firm for its longstanding partnership with Nigeria in the energy sector.
He highlighted the company’s valuable contributions over the years and expressed optimism about deepening the collaboration through increased investment in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Lokpobiri assured the Baker Hughes delegation of the Nigerian government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for investments in the refinery sector.
The minister affirmed that adequate measures would be put in place to facilitate the seamless actualisation of Baker Hughes’ investment plans, aligning with the overall vision of the current administration.
“I am very happy that you have joined other companies in identifying the great opportunities and government’s favourable policies in our oil and gas sector and with the advent of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), we now have a workable framework that guarantees conducive environment for investment,” the minister said.
The meeting between Lokpobiri and Simonelli, the statement said, sets the stage for a promising collaboration that not only strengthens the ties between Nigeria and Baker Hughes, but also contributes to the realisation of sustainable energy goals on a global scale.
Describing the meeting as highly constructive, Lokpobiri stated that the strong expression in directing investments towards the refinery domain of the nation’s oil and gas industry was quite commendable.
“Recognising the history of collaboration between Baker Hughes and our country, I reiterated the government’s dedication to cultivating partnerships with potential investors.
“The company’s commitment to advancing the energy sector aligns with our national objectives and I conveyed appreciation for their sustained involvement.
“Assurances were given regarding a conducive environment for investment, as I emphasised the government’s readiness to facilitate and support endeavours that contribute to the growth and sustainability of our petroleum resources,” Lokpobiri added.