The Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Mele Kyari, has said there will be a licensing round for ultra-deepwater assets next year.
He also urged international oil companies operating in the country to stop worrying over the recent amendment of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act 2004 by the Federal Government.
The IOCs and their local counterparts under the aegis of the Oil Producers Trade Section had said the Federal Government’s planned increase in deepwater royalty would worsen Nigeria’s competitiveness and make $15bn of currently planned deepwater investments economically unviable.
Kyari, who spoke on Monday at the 37th Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorarionists in Lagos, stressed the need to ramp up exploration activities in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
“As we are all aware, the ultra-deepwater is completely unexplored today. Before the end of this year or next year, God willing, I believe there will be some form of bid rounds in that space,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the bill that amended the Deep Offshore (and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract) Act earlier this month after its passage by the National Assembly.
Kyari lamented that the nation’s crude oil reserves had stagnated around 37 billion barrels in recent years on the back of the lull in exploration, saying that there might be “a massive depletion in the available resources.”
He noted that the amendment of the Deep Offshore Act was a requirement of law, saying the conditions required to make changes to it were met since 2003.He said the industry had expected something to happen since then but nothing was done, describing this as an opportunity lost.