By Daniel Edu
The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) is taking proactive measures to address the issue of inactive crude oil blocks in Nigeria’s upstream petroleum sector. Dr. Kelechi Ofoegbu, Executive Commissioner for Economic Regulation and Strategic Planning at NUPRC, unveiled this initiative during a recent Consultation Forum held in Abuja.
The newly formed committee’s primary objective is to reverse the trend of inactivity, with a specific focus on the 23 oil blocks that have failed to produce under Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited. These blocks are operated by a mix of international and local oil companies.
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) recently highlighted this issue in its 2021 Oil and Gas Industry Report. Dr. Ofoegbu stressed that the committee, which includes NNPC Ltd. representatives, will conduct a thorough evaluation and propose effective measures. These measures may encompass strategies to combat crude oil theft, attract new investments, and stimulate production in these blocks.
In line with the petroleum sector’s broader goals, Dr. Ofoegbu shared that Nigeria aims to achieve a daily production of 2 million barrels by the end of 2023, with plans for further growth to reach 4 million barrels per day in the medium to short term. This expansion hinges on maximizing the use of all available acreage.
The NUPRC is actively engaging with industry stakeholders through consultations and forums, ensuring compliance with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). The ultimate aim is to improve commercial efficiency, reduce production costs, enhance profitability, and create a favorable business environment in the sector. The final draft regulations will be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for ratification and approval.