Chairman Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) Mr Bank-Anthony Okoroafor speaks in this interview with the Publisher Nigerian NewsDirect Dr Samuel Ibiyemi on 2018 budget oil benchmark, PETAN award and 2017 oil industry performance among others. Excerpts.
What is your assessment of PETAN award ceremony?
The event went well and all our invitee came. The group managing director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Chief Executives of Chevron, Total E& P, CEO of Seplat, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company ( SNEPCO) and top officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources were present.
With the participation of the NNPC GMD, is this an endorsement of indigenous operation’s performance?
The Group Managing Director of NNPC has always supported Indigenous operations. He has also been supporting IOCs and PETAN. Dr Maikanti Baru is passionate about local content. So, anything that moves the industry forward receives 100 per cent support by him. So we are happy that he finds the time to support the industry that he loves.
As the year is going to any end, what is your assessment of 2017 oil & gas upstream sector?
It is a mixed feelings we had when the oil price was down. Initially, a lot of projects were deferred, but now the price of oil has stabilized. Many things are picking up gradually. If you watch, in the same 2017, oil and gas policies were signed by the Federal Executive Council. The NNPC also signed for the JV cash call exit with the IOC’s , CHEVRON, SHELL, ExxonMobil, TOTAL E&P and Eni-Agip. A lot of good things were executed to move the oil and gas industry forward.
What is the impact of all these policies on the industry?
The Gas policy put more emphasis on gas. Operators can now explore for gas. There is more emphasis on building gas infrastructure. There is also more emphasis on fiscal terms for gas in order to attract investors. There is much emphasis in building the gas market.
When you talk about exploring for gas, there was no licensing round for gas explorative blocks needed to initiate exploration for gas.
When you are given a field to carry out exploration, you have oil and you have gas in that field. It is easy to get oil and sell but it is more expensive to build gas infrastructure. So, people ignore exploration for gas. Now, with a lot of emphasis on gas, people will not ignore gas and it brings so much opportunities for gas.
What is your expectation on the roles of indigenous firms in raising Nigeria’s oil and gas production output?
Seplat has done a lot of development on gas and they have also done a lot on oil. Seplat is an indigenous company producing 70,000 barrels per day(bpd) of oil. Eroton, another indigenous company is producing about 50,000 bpd of oil. A lot of the indigenous companies are doing well in terms of oil production. Seplat has done a lot of works in gas and we congratulate them for that. So, basically with nice fiscal terms for gas, we will see more investment in gas exploration and production. Indigenous companies are taking leading roles to boost the nation’s production of oil and gas.
What is the impact of $60 oil price on the sector and the future?
The future is going to be great. Companies are going to increase investment. People will reopen projects. There is going to be a lot of drilling activities. We will have a lot of rigs and well services. So, there will be a lot of jobs.
Do you see the oil price still at $60 per barrel because we have been hearing there is going to be oil glut with lowering of forecast figures?
If you look at what is happening all over the world, there are new discoveries. Shale production is becoming more efficient and with extension of the cut in production till the end of 2018 by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), we can see the price of crude oil between $60 and $65 per barrel in 2018. This is with the assumption that there is no crisis in any of the oil producing countries of the world. Hence, at home, the Federal Government must do everything to sustain peace in the Niger-Delta. This is because without peace in the Niger-Delta, all our projections for the 2018 budget cannot be achieved. Remember, there was a time we are losing $66 million everyday because of destructions by the militants. So, whatever the Government needs to do to maintain peace in the Niger Delta to continue having stable production should be considered by the government as priority.