The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) says about 1.2 million barrels of oil are shut-in consistently due to crude oil theft in the country.
Gbenga Komolafe, chief executive officer, NUPRC, said this on Monday, at a press briefing in Abuja.
When an oil well is shut-in, it is closed off so that it stops producing.
Komolafe said the agency discovered that about 1.2 million barrels of crude oil were consistently shut-in by producers across various oil wells in the Niger Delta due to the incessant oil theft in the industry.
He also said the current statistics showed that the volume of oil lost to theft in Nigeria was about 100,000 barrels per day, translating to an estimated three million barrels every month.
Komolafe added that the country’s gas reserves had risen to 208 trillion standard cubic feet.
“One of the negative and side effects of crude oil theft is that it has incentivised well shut-ins by producers, in the sense that it is not part of their investment model to produce and hand over to thieves,” the NUPRC boss said.
“So, what we have done is that we are engaging with all operators and the target is for us to have clarity around their operations, whereby we try to drill down on their work programmes and visibility, based on what we are expecting from them.
“In that regard, we had to set up an operations committee with the aim of identifying shut-in wells. The essence is for us to be able to have feasibility around the wells that are shut-in.
“That exercise was done and we found out that we have about 1.2 million barrels of oil that are shut in consistently as a result of the impact of crude oil theft. So, our engagement is aimed at identifying the wells that could be re-streamed in a manner that we could have some barrels added to our existing production.”
Komolafe also said the commission’s target is to add about 500,000 barrels to what the country was currently producing.
He said this would be done by getting about 40 to 50 percent of the shut-in volumes.
“So, our projection is that we can hit over two million barrels and surpass our OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) quota,” he added.
He, however, said based on its engagements with investors in the sector, the commission observed that the oil firms were still willing to restart production in the shut-in wells despite the transition to renewable energy.