Despite shortfalls in meeting targets on crude oil production for internal and external use, a total of N202.91 billion was earned by the Nigerian government in the just concluded 2020 marginal field bid round.
The government opened up on Tuesday that 13 out of the 30 marginal fields awarded since 1999 are currently not functional, hence not producing crude oil. While the remaining 17 marginal fields are being managed, the government said it also awarded 57 marginal fields to about 49 new investors in Abuja within the period under review. Naija News reports that the government disclosed this during the issuance of the Petroleum Prospecting Licence to the successful awardees in the 2020 marginal field bid round. This, it said, was pursuant to the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021. The event came as successful awardees, such as Matrix Energy Group, Petrogas Energy, among others, promised to begin oil search from the fields in earnest to boost the country’s crude oil production. Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Gbenga Komolafe, said one of the major tasks inherited by the NUPRC upon its inauguration last year, was the need to conclude the 2020 bid round. “Consequently, we pursued the matter frontally and are delighted to inform you that the exercise which commenced in June 2020 is being concluded today,” he stated. Komolafe explained that historically, the marginal fields award initiative began in 1999 and was borne out of the need to entrench the indigenisation policy of government in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry and build local content capacity. “Besides, the initiative was also targeted at creating employment opportunities and encouraging increased capital inflow to the sector. “Since its inception, a total of 30 fields have been awarded, with 17 currently producing. A breakdown of the allocation of the fields to indigenous operators is as follows: two fields awarded in 1999, 24 in 2003/2004, one each in 2006 and 2007, and two in 2010. “Ten years after, in 2020, 57 fields were put up for bidding. Again, it is noteworthy that the 2020 marginal field bid round exercise in respect of which PPLs are being issued today has attracted government revenue of about N200bn and $7m (N2.91bn at official exchange rate of N415.64/$) respectively,” Komolafe explained. In his remark, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Matrix Energy Group, Adisa Aliu, said successful investors in the bid would without further hesitation commence an oil search. He stressed that the contributions of marginal field operators would positively improve the monthly demand for oil, meeting the needed quota approved for Nigeria by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. “We are delighted at the conclusion of this exercise and we are ready to contribute our quota in assisting to meet the target approved for Nigeria and as well help in shoring up revenue for our county,” he stated. He, however, noted that security should be improved in the Niger Delta, as this had been a challenge to not just the production of crude oil, but to the meaningful progress of the sector.
This article was originally published on Naija News