- Concerns as Nigeria Fails to Attract Big Oil Investments
While other African oil-producing countries are gearing up to attract investments, regulatory uncertainty in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry has continued to darken the outlook for big projects in the country.
Several planned deepwater projects in the country, with the potential to bring online almost 1.1 million barrels of new production daily over the next five or more years, have been repeatedly pushed back by the International Oil Companies.
Since February 2012, when the 125,000-bpd Usan deepwater field started production, no major oil field has come on stream in the country.
Total’s $16bn Egina deepwater oilfield project, whose Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel recently sailed away from a fabrication and integration yard in Lagos for installation on the field, is expected to add 200,000 bpd to Nigeria’s oil production.
Analysts at PwC, noted in a new report titled ‘Africa’s oil and gas review’, that the industry was still awaiting the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
“The associated uncertainty has likely caused the deferment of Final Investments Decisions for a host of upstream and midstream projects,” they said.
The bill, which seeks to change the organisational structure and fiscal terms governing the industry, suffered setbacks in the 6th and 7th National Assembly.
To fast-track its passage into law, the current National Assembly decided to split the bill into four parts – the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and Petroleum Host Community Bill.
After its passage by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the PIGB was transmitted to the President for assent in July to enable it to become law but President Muhammadu Buhari declined to assent to the bill.
The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, International Energy Services Limited, Dr Diran Fawibe, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Wednesday, noted that the taking of the final investment decisions on the deepwater projects had been very slow.
Projects that have not been sanctioned are Shell’s Bonga South-West and Aparo (225,000bpd) and Bonga North (100,000bpd), ExxonMobil’s Bosi (140,000bpd), Satellite Field Development Phase 2 (80,000bpd) and Uge (110,000bpd), Eni’s Zabazaba-Etan (120,000bpd), and Chevron’s Nsiko (100,000bpd).
Fawibe, a former top executive in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, said Bonga South-West and Zabazaba-Etan were estimated to cost more than $10bn each, adding, “When you have inflows of this magnitude into an industry of a country, of course, that is a big investment.”
He said, “When international oil companies or investors have reservations about the economic condition of a country, the tendency is to delay their decisions. But the government, realising this, would then have to find a way of convincing or wooing them to ensure that they make the decisions in good time. If the oil companies are given incentives to make investments, surely they will do that.”
He noted that a lot of countries had discovered oil, saying the amount of investment that used to come to Nigeria would now have to be shared.
“But our behaviour does not reflect an understanding of that; we behave as if we are the only country in the world. By the time we get to understand that there are other countries competing for the same funds, maybe we will be able to take actions,” Fawibe added.
Commenting on the PIB, he said, “Time is running out, although we still have six or seven months to the end of the tenure of this current administration. If they are determined to do it, they can. And that is the assurance they have been giving, but there is nothing on the ground that will show that indeed they are committed to it.”
Nigeria’s oil and condensate production showed recovery last year and is estimated to remain at the level of two million bpd in 2018, according to Rystad Energy, an oil and gas consulting services and business intelligence data firm.
It said in an October 29, 2018 report, “While Nigeria is not expected to ramp up production further in the future, sanctioned and unsanctioned projects waiting to be put on stream would be able to offset declining volumes from mature fields, keeping oil supply stable.”
“The timely development of these resources is seen as key for maintaining the country’s oil supply. Given the favourable economics of upcoming projects, the development is expected to take place as planned, provided that the political situation does not create disruptions.
“The development of the projects, expected to be sanctioned in the next five years, is further expected to contribute to the growth in the medium and long-term investments in the country.”