The Federal Government said its inability to meet the oil production quota allocated to Nigeria by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries was due to the lack of investments in the oil and gas sector of the economy.
It said the lack of investments was due to the recent spate of exits by International Oil Companies such as Shell and ExxonMobil from Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
Nigeria’s OPEC quota is pegged at about 1.8 million barrels per day but in the last few years, the country has struggled between 1.3 and 1.4 million barrels per day.
Speaking at the ongoing CERA Week in Houston, Texas, the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said the speed with which IOCs were withdrawing investments in hydrocarbon exploitation had contributed significantly to Nigeria’s inability to meet its OPEC target.
He was quoted in a statement issued in Abuja by his media aide, Haratius Egua, as saying, “The rate at which investments were taken away was too fast.
“Lack of investments in the oil and gas sector contributed to Nigeria’s inability to meet OPEC quota. We are not able to get the needed investments to develop the sector and that affected us.”
Sylva also cited security challenges as another major factor that contributed to the lack of significant growth of the sector, adding that the drive towards renewable energy by climate enthusiasts had discouraged funding for the industry.
The minister, however, called for a change of attitude, stressing that in decades to come hydrocarbon would continue to play a central role in meeting the energy needs of the world.
Sylva, a strong advocate of gas as a transition fuel for Africa, told delegates at the event that though Nigeria was in full support of energy transition, the country and the African continent should be allowed to develop at its own pace.
This, he said, would enable African countries meet the energy needs of the over 600 million people who had no access to any form of power in Africa.
He said, “There are about 600 million people in Africa without access to power and of that number the majority live in Nigeria.
“And of the over 900 million people without access to power in the world, the majority live in Africa. So how do we provide access to power for these people if you say we should not produce gas?
“We believe that gas is the way to go. We believe that gas is the way forward and the one access to power. We need to have an inclusive energy transition programme.”