…As oil price hits $54.32 over hurricane
By Adewale Sanyaolu
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its joint venture partner, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, have made commitments to boost oil and gas production in the country.
The commitment was made in Abuja, yesterday, when the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mr. Maikanti Baru, received ExxonMobil delegation led by Mr. Jack Williams, Senior Vice President of ExxonMobil Corporation from the United States.
Baru said the joint venture with ExxonMobil, which until recently was the highest producer of crude oil in the country, was primed to make a rebound.
ExxonMobil, which is also the operator of the NNPC/MPN joint venture in the upstream sector of the petroleum industry, also resolved to seek new measures to expand existing operational portfolios to boost its crude oil production and gas supply for power generation.
Until recently, the company was one of the country’s highest producers of crude oil, accounting for almost 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude, condensate and natural gas liquids (NGL). The joint venture operates over 90 offshore platforms from its Qua Iboe terminal operations area in Akwa Ibom State, comprising about 300 producing wells.
The other affiliate of the corporation is Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (EEPNL), which is the operator of the deepwater oil and gas development field named Erha in Oil Prospecting Lease, OPL 209, now OML 133.
“This is something that is very positive. And they are willing to do it. We would quickly roll-out the programme to ensure that sufficient gas comes in for the IPP. We have also secured a commitment from them to end gas flare at QIT and other production areas,” Baru said.
Williams, who described the meeting as very fruitful, noted that ExxonMobil corporation was committed to growing its production in Nigeria “safely and with much integrity.”
To underscore its aspiration for growth in production, Williams said that ExxonMobil was set to increase its JV budget for 2018 operations but did not give further details.
Meanwhile, oil prices rose on Wednesday and remained so on Thursday at $54.37 per barrel due to the closure of refineries as a result of Hurricane Harvey, which knocked out refineries, pipelines and ports in some parts of the United States.
As at 7am yesterday morning, Brent crude, the international benchmark, traded at $54.02 per barrel, a 16 cents drop from $54.20, which it exchanged for on Wednesday afternoon rising to $54.37 as at 5pm yesterday evening.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) also traded at $49.05 a barrel, also a 16 cents drop from $49.21, which it exchanged for on Wednesday afternoon. Before now, Brent crude price had hovered around $53 with WTI trading in the $47 region.
Though oil facilities in Texas and Louisiana that were affected by the hurricane are now restarting.
Secretary General of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mr. Mohammed Barkindo, has also expressed the organisation’s willingness to continue ongoing efforts to ensure stability in the oil market.
In a letter sent to the Rick Perry, United States Energy Secretary, Barkindo commiserated with the people of Texas and Louisiana, adding that OPEC will make efforts to mitigate any disruption to current or future supply of oil.
The OPEC/non-OPEC joint committee ministerial meeting will hold on September 22 in Vienna, where representatives from Libya and Nigeria will explain their production outlook to justify continued exemption from production cuts.
OPEC and some non-OPEC countries had agreed to production cuts to end oil supply glut in the market and stabilise prices.