Oil & Energy
Nigeria Doubles Down On Oil After Years Of Trouble
After months of stalling because of Covid restrictions and OPEC cuts, as well as significant international criticism over misplaced funds, Nigeria appears to be optimistic about the future of its faltering oil industry in a time when few others are.
The Nigerian government announced this week that it expects the country to produce 1.88 million barrels per day of crude oil in 2022, assuming a benchmark price of $57 per barrel. In the 2022-2024 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), just approved by the senate, the government also predicted GDP growth of 4.2 percent and inflation of 13 percent in 2022. Inflation in Nigeria decreased to 17.01 percent in August, in a country that has continued to struggle with a double-digit inflation rate since 2016.
This is a highly optimistic plan seeing as Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, was hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, from which it is still recovering. The Nigerian economy contracted 1.92 percent in 2020, after a growth of 2.92 percent in 2019. However, the contraction was lower than the World bank estimate of a 4 percent contraction or the IMF estimate of 3.2 percent.
The hopeful budget approval follows President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill into law in August. This comes after two long decades of delays in approving the PIB, at a time when much of the rest of the world is moving away from fossil fuel strategies towards green policies with a focus on renewable energy. Plans to stop the sale of diesel and petroleum vehicles as well as targets for net zero-carbon emissions by 2050, across Europe and North America, make the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) appear somewhat outdated.
However, advocates for the Bill believe that the African continent will continue to rely on oil production for fuel well into the next decade. Related: U.S. Oil Rig CThe President stated in August at the inauguration of the Steering Committee and PIA Implementation Group that Nigeria may have lost as much as $50 billion worth of investment because of years of delays in enacting the PIA, as investors were uncertain of Nigeria’s oil and gas outlook.
There has been significant criticism over Nigeria’s failure to establish a better regulatory environment for its oil and gas industry until now, which would have increased investor interest in the region. This is particularly pertinent at a time when other African states are beginning to develop their oil industries, and further competition comes from new emerging markets such as Guyana and Suriname.
Critics also point towards the $14 billion in funds provided to develop the Niger Delta region, the heart of the Nigerian oil industry, that was ill spent between 2001 and 2019. The funds were expected to support projects to “offer a lasting solution to the socio-economic difficulties of the Niger Delta Region and to facilitate the rapid and sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful.”
The inability to establish an adequate regulatory environment for foreign oil and gas investors for so long, as well as government’s failure to use funds to develop its oil-rich Delta Niger region, have put the country at the bottom of the list for many investors now attracted to up-and-coming oil regions without such a difficult past in the sector.
Not to forget, Nigeria is not out of the woods, still battling with reduced OPEC+ oil quotas and the lack of investment that came alongside them. Angola, Nigeria, and Kazakhstan have failed to increase their oil production in line with the OPEC+ easing of cuts this August, primarily due to years of underinvestment in the oil-rich nations’ energy industries.
In addition, concerns around Covid-19 restrictions continue to plague Nigeria’s oil industry, as the Delta region faces yet another lockdown if cases continue to rise. The challenges of 2020 could be seen all over again should Rivers State go into lockdown, with oil firms facing difficulties in transporting personnel to and from oil fields, as well as restrictions affecting pipeline and facilities maintenance, as was the case last year.
But the Nigerian government and those left in Nigeria’s oil industry are hopeful that ongoing demand from the African continent and increasing demand from Asia for oil and gas could help boost the country’s appeal following the enactment of the PIA. With 37 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, ranking 10th in the world, Nigeria has always had significant potential to become oil superstar but has until now lacked the regulatory framework to make this dream a reality until now.
So, the question is whether the “landmark” PIA will really be as ground-breaking for Nigeria’s oil industry as once hoped. The Nigerian government holds out hope for the new Act attracting greater foreign investment in the oil-rich nation, but time is yet to tell whether oil majors are willing to take a gamble on the African state so late in the game.
Other companies that look to capitalize on higher on prices this year:
Transocean (NYSE:RIG) After having missed on earnings for a number of quarters in a row, this offshore rig giant is seeing opportunities left and right as oil majors are once again betting big on offshore oil & gas production. The increasing market for offshore operations couldn’t come at a better time for Transocean, which remains one of the more speculative plays in its sector.
At the moment, the company is looking to expand its footprint in the Gulf of Mexico. Earlier this month, it landed a $252 million firm contract for its new, ultra-deepwater drillship, the Deepwater Atlas. Transocean’s client, BOE Exploration & Production LLC looks to commence operations at the Shenandoah project in the 3rd quarter of 2022.
Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU; TSE:SU): Suncor has been in the news this week as it decided to shut down some of its oil sands production due to a mechanical disruption. Syncrude, majority owned by Suncor, produces some 275,000 bpd of crude oil from bitumen at its upgrader in Alberta, according to the latest data, which was for January to May. Despite the disruption, Suncor remains one of the most attractive oil plays in Canada, which some see as the best contrarian oil bets out there.
Suncor’s relatively low extraction costs per barrel, coupled with strict ESG standards and long lasting reserves make the company interesting for long-term oil investors.
And Suncor isn’t just focusing on its flagship Syncrude project. Two weeks ago, the company announced the plan to extend the life of the Terra Nova FPSO. Together with Murphy Oil and Cenovus, and with support from the local government, Suncor looks to extend the production life of the Terra Nova FPSO by around 10 years.
Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) Shell has been the target of activist investors and environmentalists alike in 2021, and the Dutch court decision that forces Shell to reduce carbon intensity has accelerated the company’s plans to decarbonize.
This week, Royal Dutch Shell announced that it would sell off its Permian operations to ConocoPhillips for a total sum of $9.5 billion. Instead of reinvesting the entire sum in new energy projects, Shell decided to distribute $7 billion to shareholders. The Anglo-Dutch company is ramping up renewable investments around the planet in a bid to become carbon neutral by 2050. Shell’s latest investments. Its most recent bets on renewables include solar PV installations in Brazil and a major biofuel refinery in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
By: Felicity Bradstock
Bradstock writes from Oilprice.com
Oil & Energy
NPDC, Belema Oil Worst Gas Flaring Offenders In Feb – NNPC
Indigenous company, Belema Oil, Seplat and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, an arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) were the worst offenders in the oil and gas sector in gas flaring in February, 2023.
The three companies flared 100 per cent of their gas output, according to gas utilisation data released by the NNPC.
They were followed by Agip Energy and Natural Resources, which flared 95.93 per cent of its total gas output, and First Exploration and Production Limited, which flared 95 per cent of its total gas output.
The gas utilisation data showed that oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria produced 149.263 billion standard cubic feet (SCF) of gas in February, a 6.72 per cent drop, compared with 160.013 billion SCF produced in January.
A breakdown of the total gas output for February 2023 showed that associated gas stood at 107.702 billion SCF, while non-associated gas output stood at 41.561 billion SCF.
According to the NNPC, 93.52 per cent of the gas produced was utilised, while 6.48 per cent was flared.
Specifically, 139.589 billion SCF of gas was utilised in February 2023, dropping by 7.25 per cent when compared with 150.493 billion SCF of gas utilised in the previous month, while 9.674 billion SCF of gas was flared, up by 1.62 per cent, from 9.520 billion SCF flared in January 2023.
The NNPC stated that 9.084 billion SCF of gas was used as fuel gas; 45.977 billion SCF was allocated to the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG; while 5.247 billion SCF was allocated to the Escravos Gas to Liquid, EGTL, plant.
In addition, 2.353 billion SCF of gas was used for Natural Gas Liquids/Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG; domestic gas sales by the Nigerian Gas Company and others gulped 23.222 billion SCF, while 53.705 billion SCF was used by gas re-injection and gas lift make-up.
In the Joint Venture segment, Mobil Nigeria recorded the highest gas output, with 25.668 billion SCF, followed by Shell with 24.203 billion SCF; TotalEnergies produced 23.481 billion SCF of gas; while Chevron recorded gas output of 20.683 billion SCF.
However, despite producing the highest quantity of gas in the month under review, Mobil flared 6.26 per cent of its total gas output; Shell flared 4.19 per cent of its total output; Total Energies flared 2.37 per cent of its total output, while Chevron flared 9.03 per cent of its gas output.
In the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) segment, Star Deepwater – Agbami Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) produced 12.744 billion SCF of gas, out of which 1.06 per cent was flared; while TotalEnergies Upstream Nigeria’s Akpo FPSO produced 11.975 billion SCF of gas and flared 1.22 per cent of the total.
Oil & Energy
STRYDE To Deploy Seismic Receiver Nodes Onshore Nigeria
Seismic acquisition technology and solutions provider, STRYDE, has been awarded a contract worth over $1 million for the supply of 10,000 seismic receiver nodes and its “Nimble” node receiver system for an onshore oil and gas project in Nigeria.
STRYDE’s seismic sensor technology will be utilised on an upcoming 3D seismic survey conducted by Nigerian geoscience solutions provider, ATO Geophysical Limited, as part of an onshore oil and gas exploration project in Nigeria.
The seismic survey is due to begin in Q2 2023 and will be the first commercial deployment of STRYDE’s Nimble System in the country as it continues its international expansion within the energy sector.
STRYDE, who are the creators of the world’s smallest and lightest seismic node, will enable ATO to deliver high-density seismic data for the exploration of new reservoir locations in the grasslands and marshlands of Nigeria, for a local oil and gas operator.
Until recently, the country has typically relied on bulky, expensive, and complex cabled geophone receiver systems to acquire seismic data, which traditionally incurs significantly high CAPEX and OPEX costs, more exposure to HSE risk, higher technical downtime, and inefficiencies in the seismic acquisition programme.
With the introduction of cable-less receiver technology like STRYDE’s miniature sensor, geophysical providers and operators can now acquire high-quality data much more efficiently and with less cost, risk, and environmental footprint.
The supply of its node management solution will enable further efficiencies on the survey to be unlocked by allowing ATO to rotate up to 2,160 nodes per day, enabled by the system’s unique capability to simultaneously charge and harvest data from 360 nodes in under four hours.
This system is also equipped with STRYDE’s state-of-the-art software for efficient seismic survey field operations, data harvesting, and quality assurance, allowing ATO to produce processing-ready seismic data fast than ever before.
Head of Business Development, MENA, at STRYDE, Sam Moharir, commented on the transition to nodal technology: “ATO Geophysical Limited needed to have access to cost-effective technology that could also overcome challenges associated with the terrain they were due to operate in’’.
“With cabled systems traditionally being more physically challenging to deploy in remote, large, and complex terrain, STRYDE Nodes™ offer a more efficient and practical solution for improving seismic survey efficiencies through the elimination of restrictive and heavy cabled geophones”.
The Managing Director of ATO Geophysical Limited, Thomas Ajewole, said: “As a leading seismic data acquisition expert in Nigeria, we look forward to partnering on our first project with STRYDE and capitalizing on the benefits of its technology by providing our customers with a more efficient and cost-effective solution to onshore seismic data acquisition.
“As we continue to support the exploration of new oil and gas projects in the region, STRYDE Nodes present an exciting opportunity to acquire high-resolution seismic data required to image the subsurface and pinpoint new reservoir development opportunities for our customers”.
STRYDE’s CEO, Mike Popham, said: “STRYDE is excited to be enabling our first seismic surveys in Nigeria with ATO. This builds upon our successful history of seismic projects across Africa, including Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Kenya.
“We’re proud to see our nodes increasingly being utilized around the world for a range of industrial applications, replacing expensive, cumbersome, and impractical alternative systems with our dynamic technology”.
In addition to providing seismic solutions in the oil and gas market, STRYDE also supports new energy industries including Geothermal, CCUS, Hydrogen, and Mining, providing an affordable solution to a typically expensive phase of any exploration project.
Oil & Energy
NNPCL Clears $3.8bn JV Cash-Call Arrears Owed IOCs
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) says it has cleared the outstanding $3.8 billion joint venture cash-call debts owed to International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country.
NNPCL’s Executive Vice President, Upstream, Adokiye Tombomieye, disclosed this as he lamented that inadequate JV cash call funds was stunting the growth of the oil and gas industry.
Tombomieye made the disclosure while speaking during a panel session on upstream opportunities at the fourth edition of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair (NOGOF) 2023, organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Represented by the Chief Upstream Investment Officer, NNPCL, Mr Bala Wunti, he disclosed that the country’s oil production has maintained significant increase following measures to tackle crude oil theft.
Tombomieye warned that the NNPCL would no longer deal with portfolio companies, and urged investors to avoid acting as middlemen.
He disclosed that the company had leveraged its financial autonomy derived from the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to work out and execute a payment plan for the cash call debt while balancing its energy security obligations to the nation.
“This, by no small means, re-energised the JVs to recalibrate their focus towards sustaining production and increasing their spending to procure the necessary services required to do so”, the NNPCL Chief said.
Also speaking on the panel, the Managing Director of TotalEnergies EP Nigeria Limited, Mr Mike Sangster, announced that the final investment decision on the company’s upcoming Ubeta gas project would be taken in the first quarter of 2024.
Sangster, represented by the Executive Director, JV Assets, TotalEnergies, Mr. Obi Imemba, said Ubeta was its last discovered but undeveloped well in the Oil Mining Lease, OML, 58.
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