Nigeria targets more than $50 billion worth of oil development projects in the next five years, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) said, expanding a key contributor to Africa’s biggest economy.

The projects were outlined at the two-day Nigerian Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair (NOGOF) concluded Friday with participation from international and local companies, including Shell PLC and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd., organizer NCDMB said in a press release.

“Some of the opportunities are from the indigenous players, some by NNPC Ltd and the international oil companies. If you put them together, in the next five years they would exceed $50 billion that would be invested in the Nigerian oil and gas industry”, NCDMB Executive Secretary Simbi Kesiye Wabote told the gathering, as quoted in the release.

One of the projects is Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Co.’s expansion of its Bonga oil field development. The already-operational northwest section of the field can produce about 65,000 oil-equivalent barrels a day, according to the British energy giant.

“Bonga Southwest, which Shell talked about, is almost about $7 billion to $8 billion”, Wabote said. “Shell also talked about Bonga North, which they might take final investment decisions (FID) early next year and is almost $3 billion”.

He acknowledged oil development in the West African country has been hit by financial, security and regulatory hurdles.

Of projects proposed at previous NOGOFs, most “have come to fruition” but “others are challenged by security concerns, final investment decisions (FID) challenges, bankability and regulatory requirements and approvals”, Wabote said.

“We shared Ikike and today it is almost doing 50,000 barrels per day. We shared Nigeria LNG Train 7 almost six years ago and today it is in full steam, hoping to be completed in 2026. We shared the upstream opportunities that will feed into Train 7, HI, HA and Obeta projects”, he added.

The NCDMB official called for the elimination of “policy inconsistencies” and urged relevant agencies to pass supplementary laws to the Petroleum Industry Act “to give investors the necessary confidence to move ahead”, the press statement said. 

Wabote also called on the government to address “wanton crude oil theft in the Niger Delta” to “enable the production of hydrocarbons at reasonable costs and profitability”, the statement added.

“He regretted that most indigenous operators were unable to evacuate their crude oil through pipelines for over one year and are now forced to explore alternative options at high costs”.

Nigeria lost over 505 million barrels of crude and 4.2 billion liters of petroleum products, or $40.06 billion and $1.84 billion respectively, between 2009 and 2018, according to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. “Cumulatively, total crude and product losses for the period amount to $41.9 billion. This is the size of Nigeria’s entire foreign reserves”, it said in a report November 5, 2019.

Oil is a key component of Nigeria’s economy. In the latest data by the National Bureau of Statistics, published February 22, petroleum and natural gas comprised 4.34 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product in the last quarter of 2022, making this sector the fifth-largest contributor to the economy behind crop production, trade, telecommunication and information, and real estate.

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