Nigeria’s oil production could drop by 35 percent in the next ten years as regulatory uncertainty and costs amid languishing oil prices may prompt oil majors to postpone final investment decisions on three major deepwater projects, consultancy Wood Mackenzie told Reuters on Thursday.
OPEC member Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and it pumped 1.776 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) in January 2020, according to OPEC’s secondary sources in its monthly report published this week. Adding condensate production, Nigeria’s total oil output exceeds 2 million bpd.
However, three deepwater projects offshore Nigeria, operated by oil majors Exxon, Shell, and Total, could see their start-up dates delayed by two to four years to the late 2020s, according to the research WoodMac shared with Reuters ahead of publishing it on Friday.
The regulatory changes in Nigeria’s oil industry and the still pending final approval of a petroleum bill - after two decades of delays and wrangling - act as deterrents to the oil majors’ investment decisions, according to Wood Mackenzie.
Moreover, the three deepwater projects - which could add a combined 300,000 bpd to Nigeria’s production - are not profitable at current oil prices with Brent Crude below $60 a barrel, the consultancy noted.
Just this week, Nigeria assured foreign oil investors that the country is open to business and can guarantee high returns on investment, the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari told an energy conference on Monday. Related: Is This Africa’s Next Big Oil Frontier?
Nigeria is set to finally pass a new bill regulating the petroleum industry by the middle of this year, after nearly two decades of delays, the country’s Minister of Petroleum Timipre Sylva said at the same event.
Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said at the conference that “We are, more than ever before, committed to working with stakeholders to increase our crude oil production from 2.3 million bbl per day to 3 million bbl per day.”
The recent amendment to the Deep Offshore Act will improve financial stability and investor confidence, NNPC’s head said.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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