Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, says Nigeria is currently losing 800,000 barrels of crude oil on a daily basis, revealing that over 350,000 jobs in the oil sector have been affected by the economic crisis.
Speaking at the house of representatives in Abuja on Monday, Kachikwu said the country is currently producing at 1.4 million barrels per day, as against its former production level of 2.2 million barrels.
Kachikwu added that Nigeria’s upstream rigs production has also fallen to zero.
“I do share the sentiments of many Nigerians, that the country that produces 2.2 million barrels should not be in the business of importing petroleum products,” he said.
“We need to begin to look at our upstream, we have unwittingly killed the upstream. Today, there’s no single rig operating in Nigeria. All the rigs are gone.
“When the rigs are gone, it means that no meaningful exploration can take place. I labour as approvals are brought to me to sign upstream contributions.”
Kachikwu said investments in the upstream sector could create as much as 300,000 jobs for Nigerians in the downstream sector.
“If we continued what we were doing, we had the risk of losing close to 400,000 jobs in the downstream sector.
“Today, I’m sure you are aware that we have lost literally over 350,000 jobs in the downstream sector. Dealing with these issues will enable us go back to economic sanity where jobs don’t get lost.
“Rather, these jobs will create about 200,000 to 300,000 jobs in the downstream sector.”
According to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Angola is currently the largest exporter of crude oil in Africa.