The federal government of Nigeria has said it made a new discovery of crude oil in the North East, adding that a lot of resources remained undiscovered in the country. The discovery was disclosed by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva at the 2020 Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) held in Abuja.

A Nairametrics report says that the new discovery contains one billion barrels and that the nation’s oil and gas has worsened as the uncertain fiscal environment put a damper on investment. 

The figure we are getting, the jury is not totally out yet but from the evaluation results we are getting the reserve that has been discovered in the northeast is about a billion barrels,” the Minister said. 

Nigeria is West Africa’s biggest producer of petroleum and the sixth-largest supplier of oil in the world. Crude oil production was reported at 1,776.000 barrel per day in January 2020. This indicates an increase from the previous number of 1,751.000 bpd in December last year. From 2002 to January, oil production was on average of  1,955.000 bpd with 217 observations.

In this regard, Sylva cited the example of Nigeria’s oil reserve, highlighting 2002 when the oil reserve stood at around 22 billion barrels. “We were able to grow reserve from 22 billion barrels to 37 billion barrels by 2007,” he said.

Speaking on the Petroleum Industry Bill, the Minister said there was a need to pass the bill, which is one of the oldest in the Nigerian Legislature. First introduced in 2008 by the then President Umaru Yar’adua, the bill, if passed, would promote best practices in the management of the extraction of Nigeria’s oil.

The bill is also intended to deregulate and liberalize the downstream petroleum sector, create efficient and effective regulatory agencies and transparency in the administration of the petroleum resources in Nigeria. Sylva expressed optimism that the bill would be passed in June 2020 because of the cordial relationship that exists between the legislature and the executive.

Meanwhile, the discovery of the recent crude oil in the northern part of the country could heighten insecurity in the region, observers have said. The North is known for its high level of insecurity, being home to the Boko Haram insurgency groups, and other bandits. 

While the discovery of the oil in this part of Nigeria holds huge potential for the country, considering the place of oil in the economy, it also requires the government to step up measures in tackling insecurity in the north as this would clear the ground for foreign investors to establish their businesses.

By Ahmed Iyanda.

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