The federal government is considering new oilfield licensing rounds next year, especially in the deep and ultra-deep waters of the Niger Delta, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, stated at the weekend.
Kyari, during an online interview, anchored by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) International, said the plan was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, with the current price rebound, some licensing could be in the offing by 2021.
He reiterated the ambition of the national oil company to soon ramp up production to about three million bpd, especially when the current cuts imposed by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are lifted.
Kyari added that some assets had already been lined up to boost oil production.
This year, the country launched its first marginal oilfield licensing round in about 20 years, fields it said were likely to be developed by local companies and were less dependent on limited international funding for their operations.
However, the federal government, which executes its bid rounds through the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), is yet to make public the list of winners.
The NNPC boss also said given the cleaning up of the activities of the corporation that had been taking place since he took over, the company is likely to hit its break-even point by end of December.
He noted that in the corporation’s pursuit of increasing crude oil reserves to 40 billion barrels, it is looking beyond the Niger Delta to the frontier basins, where the NNPC recently said it had discovered oil in commercial quantities.
“This company will break even, hopefully by the end of this year, and become a net deliverer of value to our country and beyond that, we are improving our systems and processes, reshaping our portfolios and shifting our priorities to things that work and things of value.
“For us, the ambition is to take the company to the next level and to do that, we need to go international and to do that, you must be competitive and ahead of your game so that this company will be the pride of this country. We need to deliver excellence, transparency and accountability,” Kyari said.
He explained that not much exploration activities are going on in the Niger Delta currently because the pandemic had slowed down activities.