Lagos, Nigeria – In a stern caution, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), has signaled that Nigeria may be compelled to import crude oil for its operational and upcoming refineries unless concerted efforts are undertaken to address the current slump in production.
Wabote issued this warning during his address at the 41st Annual Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) held on Monday in Lagos.
Expressing dismay at Nigeria’s inadequate production of crude oil and gas despite substantial reserves, Wabote challenged members of NAPE and industry stakeholders to take proactive measures to reverse this trend. He stressed the imperative of closely monitoring the nation’s 37 billion barrels of oil reserves, particularly in light of ongoing efforts to revamp existing refineries and commission new ones.
“It will be a regrettable outcome if we cease the importation of refined petroleum products only to replace it with the importation of crude oil for use in our local refineries,” cautioned Wabote.
Applauding the pivotal role of petroleum explorationists in the energy sector, Wabote highlighted Nigeria’s substantial gas reserves, including 208 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of proven gas reserves and approximately 600TCF of unproven reserves. He urged explorationists to leverage their expertise to confirm recoverable volumes from these unproven reserves and develop the proven ones, emphasizing that gas is now the destination fuel, not just a transition fuel.
Assuring support for President Bola Tinubu’s gas business agenda, Wabote emphasized the commitment of NCDMB to provide necessary assistance.
Addressing the conference’s theme, “Repositioning the oil and gas industry for future energy dynamics,” Wabote underscored the global need to strike a balance between energy security, sustainability, and affordability. He emphasized the industry’s historical significance in powering global industrial and economic development.
Wabote stressed that the repositioning of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector for national development necessitates collaboration across upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors. He highlighted the role of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Content Development Act (2010) as the compass for developing local capacities and capabilities in the industry.
Commending the Federal Government’s commitment to maintaining and consolidating gains in the oil and gas sector, Wabote expressed the NCDMB’s readiness to support initiatives that promote local investments, bolster investor confidence, and create jobs, contributing to the sector’s stability.