The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, on Friday, rejected move by the Senate Committee on Appropriation to increase the crude oil production benchmark in the 2024 Appropriation Bill from 1.7million barrels per day to 1.8mp/d.
Senator representing Ogun West and Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, dropped the suggestion at the Budget Defence session between his Committee and management of the NNPCL.
The federal government in the Appropriation Bill gave average crude oil production benchmark of 1.78m b/d and crude oil price benchmark of $77.96.
Saturday Tribune checks revealed that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production quota for its members is 1.5million barrels per day.
The NNPCL GCEO told the Committee that the oil giant would stick to the benchmark approved by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the Appropriation Bill.
Kyari submitted that the crude oil price and production benchmarks were based on dynamics in the global oil market.
He said: “I will advise that we stick to the submission of Mr President on the quota
“There is no way we will get crude oil less than $70.
“Once economies are growing, there will be sustained demands for crude oil in our country and other countries.
“The estimates supplied by Mr. President is realistic. When we say production, we mean total production of crude oil and condensates. So we combine condensates and crude oil as total marginal production. So we know our estimates is realistic. There is no curtailment on condensates from OPEC.”
Reinforcing his stance on realistic estimates by President Tinubu, Kyari however cautioned that security challenges in the Niger Delta Region could frustrate the projections of the federal government, citing crude oil theft.
The NNPCL GCEO told the gathering of lawmakers and journalists that illegal crude oil bunkering in the oil-producing states is alarming as he revealed that there are over 4,800 illegal connections on crude oil pipelines.
“The situation we have in Niger Delta in terms of security is a calamity. We don’t have that anywhere in the world. To engage nonstate actors as last resort as solution is abnormal. But we have to respond abnormally. You have over 4800 illegal connections on our pipelines. That means, within every kilometer, you have an insertion. Even if you seal all the insertions, you can’t get what you want in terms of production. In the Niger Delta, people are coming from all parts of the country to do illegal refining. That’s why we engage locals to deal with it
“We will contain this challenge . We are doing everything possible to restore sanity. What is happening is a colossal damage to the environment and the host communities.”
Kyari also gave an update on the Turn Around Maintenance of the nation’s four refineries.
He insisted that the Port Harcourt refineries would come on stream in December while Warri Refinery would resume production in first quarter of 2024.
The NNPCL GCEO gave December 2024 as production target of the Kaduna Refinery.
The lawmakers frowned at the N406 billion to Federation Account as dividend between July to November from the NNPCL as they dismissed it as nothing to cheer about.
The lawmakers tasked the management of the oil giant to strive to be like its global peers, citing the Saudi Aramco and the Petrobras of Brazil.
Kyari, in his defence, declared that until the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill into law, the company was not run like a profit-driven enterprise.