Nigeria may soon fall in the shadow of the activities of Angola as the country inches to boost its oil reserve base with the expected conduct of oil licensing rounds which is to be carried out anytime soon.
As part of efforts to ramp up its crude output to 2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2015 from around 1.75 million bpd last year, Angola’s government has approved the guidelines of a plan to hold bidding for licences to explore for oil onshore in the Kwanza and Lower Congo basins in northern Angola.
This action will significantly impact the position of Nigeria as the largest producer of crude oil in Africa should she continue to play politics with her oil acreages and refuse to gear up activities that could lead to substantially increase her oil reserve base. Angola may catch up with Nigeria in terms of daily production even though Nigeria has the capacity to produce three million barrels per day. It has been limited by militancy activities and oil theft.
But Biodun Adeasanya, the managing director of Degeconek, said that the mere fact that the country has put on offer some oil blocks does not translate to oil discovery. “The expected licensing round in Angola does not have any impact on Nigeria as it has the capacity to produce three million barrels per day, but could not do so because of the level of insecurity and theft”.
In 2009, Angola briefly replaced Nigeria in the number 1 spot, following drop in Nigeria’s production as a result of years of attacks on pipelines and platforms in the Niger Delta, which increased in intensity from mid-2006. Nigeria reclaimed the Africa’s top oil producer status in 2010 as she hit the 2.4 million barrels per day mark after several months in less than two million mark.
Countries like Ghana and other East African countries are also gearing up for the same exercise like Angola. Kenya, for instance, is set for licensing round exercise in June this year just as Ghana is making profound efforts to see that it is increasing its oil reserve base.
The reserve base of the country is being on the decline with no serious exploration activities going on.
The oil licence rounds that were to take place in 2012, according the minister of petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, never did for both marginal fields and oil blocks that would have put Nigeria on the map of exploration and production activity.
According to her interview with Reuters Joe Brock late 2012, there was still the hint that Nigeria will hold an oil exploration bidding round before the end of the year. Her statement precisely was that “we expect within the next couple of months a marginal bid round will be announced. We hope a major bid round will follow before the end of the year”.
OLUSOLA BELLO & FEMI ASU