The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, says Nigeria must bring down the cost of production of its crude oil as the country is currently a laughing stock in the way it runs business in the oil and gas sector.
He said this on Tuesday in Abuja while playing host to the Country Chair/Managing Director, Total Exploration and Production, Nigeria, Mike Sangster, who led a delegation from his company to visit the minister.
The minister, who unveiled some of his plans in the oil and gas sector, was quoted in a statement issued by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources as saying, “We have to bring down our cost of production of crude, as we are presently a laughing stock in the way we do our business.”
He noted that the country was making losses in the sector.
Sylva frowned on the unwarranted practice perpetuated by some international oil companies and expressed the hope that Total E&P was not among the IOCs that sold the country’s assets.
“Those assets are amortised assets; you can’t sell what you don’t have,” the minister told his guests.
Sylva stated that he expected the country to be producing nothing less than four million barrels of crude per day and decried the situation where Nigeria was still hovering between two million and 2.2 million.
“The quicker we produce our oil, the better for us. The industry has to grow. We need to look at exploration. Our reserves are growing far less than expected,” he said.
The minister also spoke on the necessity of getting the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill revisited by the National Assembly.
He said, “We need to tidy up the regulatory environment with the National Assembly. I have called the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for us to meet with the National Assembly and have a timeline which we can announce to the world.
“We also need to harmonise the laws so that we don’t have too many with which we can regulate the industry.”
On his part, Sangster stated that the main purpose of the visit of his team was not only to congratulate the minister but also to express Total’s firm belief in the minister’s ability to proffer solutions to the challenges facing the oil and gas industry.