Nigeria to earn N3trn from new Owowo oil field
As Nigeria grapples with the economic challenges it is presently enmeshed in, indications have emerged of a brighter future in the nation’s oil and gas sector, with a new oil reserve which has been estimated to generate upwards of N3 trillion for the country.
The oil reserve discovered last October by United States’ oil giant, ExxonMobil Corporation, with about one billion barrels of oil in the Owowo field, offshore Nigeria, is capable of spinning the whooping amount for the country in no distant future.
Barely a week after it sold its downstream subsidiary in Nigeria, ExxonMobil had last October announced the discovery of the oil field.
The development, according to energy experts, would boost Nigeria’s efforts in increasing her crude oil reserves from the current 36 billion barrels to 40 billion barrels target, which was set for 2010 but could not be achieved as a result of lack of investment in exploratory activities.
The Owowo field spans portions of the contract areas of Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 223 and Oil Mining License (OML) 139.
An official of the company who spoke with our correspondent yesterday said, given the right operating environment, the successes recorded by ExxonMobil on previous projects could be replicated on its recent oil discovery in Owowo field.
The company said it has demonstrated its contribution to and support for Nigeria’s long-term goal of increasing its oil production volumes.
‘‘For such a huge project – its Erha North Phase II – to be completed despite the harsh operating environment, the Owowo oil field exploration could be a monumental success with the right policies in place,” the official said.
Energy experts say that the oil field discovery has beamed rays of hope on the Nigerian economy, especially at a time when new investments in upstream operations are shrinking.
They said the discovery came as a morale booster for the industry, especially as Nigeria’s reserve replacement ratio had been on the downward trend.
‘‘The Owowo oil field has the potential of providing new employment opportunities for Nigerians once production starts. The implication of this is enhanced living standards for some households and revenue to government in form of taxes and royalties, but this can only be accomplished in a business-friendly environment,” an expert in the company said.