17 April 2017

Nigeria: Discrepancies in Oil Figures Persist Despite Online Monitoring

Photo: Daily Trust
Oil production table

There are still conflicting figures on how much crude oil Nigeria produces daily despite the commencement of a scheme to monitor real-time crude oil production, Daily Trust findings have shown.

In response to persistent calls for a more accurate surveillance of the nation's oil production and export, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) launched the National Production Monitoring System (NPMS), an online platform to accurately monitor national crude oil production and exports.

The scheme provides a system for direct and independent acquisition of production data from oil and gas facilities in Nigeria to ensure timely and accurate reporting of production figures and export data.

The portal, which a DPR official confirmed was not open to the public, replaced the paper-based reporting system.

NPMS, according to the agency, ensures ready production reporting to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and other agencies in the industry.

However, despite the recent commencement of the scheme, discrepancies persist in crude oil output figures given by officials and authorities in recent weeks. Multinational operators and external oil market watchdogs have also churned out figures that are at odds with government agencies.

The Ministry of Petroleum Resources, a fortnight ago, put Nigeria's February 2017 average daily crude oil and condensate production at 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd). This, however, varied from the 2.1 million bpd oil production given by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) weeks before.

Earlier, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, said Nigeria's oil production rose to 2 million bpd in February.

Kachikwu's figure was preceded by that given by Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun who said production was 2.2 million bpd after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had earlier put output at between 1.7 million bpd and 1.8 million bpd.

The reported rise in production came despite the fact that Forcados, a major export pipeline carrying nearly 250,000 bpd, in the Niger Delta, has been shut since February last year due to militant attacks.

Findings show that all the figures from the authorities differ with the one given by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a number of independent market analysts.

The petroleum ministry in the March Facts and Figures publication said oil production was now 1.6 million bpd but offered little for the reduction.

Although Shell had announced that it shut down its flagship facility, the 225,000 barrels per day (bpd) Bonga oil field, for maintenance on March 4, checks showed that even with the closure of the field, current production level should have fallen to 1.875 million bpd from 2.1 million bpd which is higher than the ministry's 1.6 million bpd figure.

The divergences in the reported production data have raised questions over which agency is the reliable reporting agent of government in terms of oil production?

"The only and most authentic data source should be DPR as the regulator. They have first-hand information as the calculator and collector of royalty. They are also responsible for monitoring and enforcing the allowable production rate," Professor of Petroleum Economics and President of Nigerian Association for Energy Economics (NAEE), Wumi Iledare, said.

A spokesperson for the DPR, Dorothy Bassey, when asked why there were discrepancies among government agencies reporting crude oil figures, said every agency "has their own processes."

She said crude oil production figure for the first quarter of this year was not yet publicly available because, they (DPR and oil companies) have to reconcile this figures before it is put into public domain.

"We have figures but they have to be reconciled before that are put into public domain. We don't want a situation where we will give a figure today and come back tomorrow to give another figure."

NEITI, in most of its audits, has stated that it was difficult to have accurate oil output figure because the DPR was handicapped to check anything other than collect the figures given by the multinational operators.

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