An Indigenous player in the energy sector of the economy, Mr. Victor Ekpenyong, has urged the federal government and oil firms to leverage on the expertise of Nigerian firms to check oil theft, and increase oil production.
Ekpenyong, who made the call in a statement on Sunday, noted that there was a need to raise oil production beyond current levels to take advantage of increased oil prices in the international market.
He said that although the nation is capable of producing up to 2.5 million barrels of crude per day, the activities of oil thieves and vandals who frequently attack oil installations have compelled operators to shut down vandalised assets.
Mr. Melle Kyari, Group Managing Director of NNPC Ltd, at a public event in Abuja on Friday, stated that oil output has nosedived to less than 1.15 million barrels due to upsurge in oil theft and vandalism.
Ekpenyong, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Kenyon International West Africa Ltd, explained that the indigenous oil services firm has developed a homegrown solution to oil theft and vandalism.
He explained that the solution which the company refers to as Idle Well Management Solution, is currently being deployed in some oil fields, saying it has proved cost-effective and efficient.
The solution, according to him, includes installation of anti-theft devices on well heads that makes it impossible to steal crude or vandalise welp heads.
He hoped that if the solution was adopted across the oilfields, oil production will take an upward swing and enable Nigeria benefit from the rising oil prices.
Ekpenyong said that its package to secure oil installations relies on idle well management practice which helps to monitor idle wells, preventing them from vandalism and theft
According to him, “Nigeria has the capacity to produce nearly 2.5 million barrels of oil per day, but now, it struggles to produce 1 million plus barrels a day.
“Some of the factors that caused the plunge in production are vandalism and oil theft. This has inevitably led to some Nigerian companies shutting down their operations.
“To salvage the situation, government needs to conduct a situational analysis.
“From the information we have seen so far, the country previous produced more oil, and we should enquire why our oil producing capacity is plunging as the days go by.
“Now that oil is above $100 per barrel, we should take advantage of it and maximise our revenue. Our government needs to devise plans on how to safeguard oil and gas assets and conduct community engagement.
“Currently, we have a lot of tech savvy youth in the country, and in community engagement, citizens can proffer some tech-solutions to these problems we face.
“Young people can develop applications that can track vandals. This can be potentially beneficial to both oil companies and the citizens as well.”
He also advocated that the regulatory agencies in the oil and gas sector to ensure that oil companies are following the industry-recommended procedures and best practices.
He expressed optimism that in a properly regulated environment where operators imbibe operational practices, oil output would improve and boost the much needed revenue to government.