Nigeria’s crude oil production has declined massively from an average of 2.2 million barrels per day last year to about 1.4 million barrels per day due to increased vandalism of crude oil pipelines by vandals.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, said on Monday while appearing before a special session of the House of Representatives convened over the recent hike in petrol price, that the decline translated to a loss of about 800,000 barrels of crude oil daily.
Mr, Kachikwu condemned the incessant attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta region, saying this might impact negatively on the estimates in the recently approved 2016 budget, which pegged oil production at 2.2 million barrels per day.
He, however, expressed government’s commitment to ensure that destroyed facilities were repaired and effectively protected from further damage.
“We are going to work hard to see how we will get these issues resolved and get our production back,’’ the minister said, pointing out that developing infrastructure was key to promoting increased crude oil production and efficiency.
The minister said there were still a lot more things government needed to pay attention to, particularly infrastructure development, which he said the country has not been able to invest in over the last 20 years in the oil sector.
He said the country’s crude oil pipelines had not been replaced for 35 years, while gas infrastructures had not been in place, and refineries were old and next to comatose.
Although he said government was working hard to repair and put them back to work, the critical facilities were at a breakdown stage.
“No country in the world will expect that the fuel price system in the country will benefit its citizens if it doesn’t invest in infrastructure,” he said.
“So, we need to begin to focus on building massive infrastructure all over the country. I know how much efforts it has taken to pump products from the south to the north, to the east and to the west.
“It has been one battle after another, but the time has come to invest in proper pipelines, proper tracking, proper buried levels and begin to move with the world,’’ Mr. Kachikwu said.