NUPRC keeps two-month oil production reports secret

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has kept the nation’s two months’ crude oil production reports secret.Reasons for the clandestine action was not immediately clear at the time of filing this report.The latest report the commission published was that of last November. It was published on December 13, last year.

Ordinarily, NUPRC would release the report of an immediate past month latest 10th of the new month.In other words, the commission ought to have made the December report public by January, this year.The much-awaited report would have given a summary of Nigeria’s crude oil and condensate oil production in December 2023.Besides, being the last month of the year report, it would have given an overview of the last year’s crude oil production.

The report would have shown the performance of the oil producing firms.Aside from giving an insight into the past, it affords the country, which is heavily dependent on the resource, factual data for states and national planning.It would be recalled that the yearly budget is benchmarked with crude oil price and production volume.With the commission sitting on it for two months, it has succeeded in keeping the stakeholders in the dark.

Petroleum profit tax is dependent on the volume of production just as host communities also rely on volume and price of crude oil to know the company’s profit and their entitlements.The commission’s Corporate Communications, Head, Mrs. Olaide Shonola, whom The Nation asked why the NUPRC had been delaying the report, said it was being reviewed.According to her in a WhatsApp message on February 5, this year, the commission would soon upload the report.

“It’s being reviewed and it will be uploaded soon,” she said.Several days have since passed after the promise to upload the data soon.In its last November report, which was the latest at the time of filing this report, the Commission said Nigeria’s crude oil and condensate production dipped to 1,466,184 barrels per day (bpd) in November 2023.

In the report tagged “Crude Oil and Condensate Production November 2023,” the commission noted that in the month under review crude oil output was 1,250,299 bpd.The report further said 49,426b/d of blended condensate was produced in the period under review.According to the data, Nigeria produced 166,429b/d unblended condensate in November, last year.

From the report, it is an indication that the country failed to meet its Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota of 1.8mb/d in 11 successive month in 2023.It would be recalled that Nigeria could not meet the production quota the cartel approved for it last year.Crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism, have been blamed for the downtime the country is grappling with.Last week, The Nation reported that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) cried out that it recorded 389 incidents of crude oil theft in two weeks.The record emanated from the company’s bid to eradicate crude oil theft.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, on Monday rekindled the country’s hope for improved petroleum production.He  vowed that Nigeria would not only meet the 1.7 million barrels bpd crude oil production  benchmark in the 2024 budget but that it would also surpass it.

The Nation had reported that speaking at a Stakeholder’s Interactive Session on Creating Value and Enabling Investments in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Sector organised by Chevron Nigeria Plc, he also said the country could increase crude oil production to two million bpd.He expressed his commitment to fostering collaboration with stakeholders to enhance the country’s oil and gas sector amid his ambitious target for the year.His Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Nneamaka Okafor, made this known in a press statement.

She quoted the minister as saying, “The success of the upstream sector will determine the success of the midstream and the downstream and as a government. We are willing to sustain that engagement with the stakeholders so that in 2024 and beyond, we will together ensure that we produce not the 1.7 million bpd that we need for our budget but ensure that we produce what is needed to meet the local demand.”

The Minister outlined the trajectory of sector growth since the administration took office, starting at about one million barrels per day and steadily increasing to 1.4 million barrels per day.He expressed his ambition to continue this upward trajectory, highlighting the government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for stakeholders to thrive.

“As a new government that is business-friendly, with a clear mandate to ramp up production, we are willing to ensure that our fiscal regime is competitive globally. My appeal is that this old marriage, let us manage it, sustain it and improve on it. Whatever your concerns may be, let us put them on the table to disagree to agree,” Lokpobiri said.He reassured stakeholders that the government was addressing the challenges and was committed to providing the best playing field for International Oil Companies (IOCs) and independents to make the investments.

“As a country, we have the capacity to produce more than two million barrels per day. We have identified the issues bedeviling the sector and are already working on them. I would replicate this programme with the IOCs and independents so that we can make the sector work for all of us and Nigerians at large, and I know that 2024 will be a much better year,” he added.

The minister also highlighted efforts to rehabilitate refineries and ensure the functionality of modular refineries to enhance the country’s refining capacity, meet local and regional demands, and thrive internationally.The Minister added that he invited the stakeholders to join hands in building a sector that contributes to the growth and development of Nigeria.