Govt raises teams to tackle oil spills in N’Delta

ALLISON-MADUEKE-1NNPC surpasses revenue target by $3 billion

WORRIED by environmental degradations that often accompany oil exploration in the Niger Delta, the Federal Government has set up structures to reduce the effects to the barest minimum, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, has said.

At the maiden edition of Stakeholders roundtable on the Niger Delta Environmental Protection and Regeneration with the theme, “Ensuring Niger Delta Environmental Sustenance,” in Abuja yesterday, the minister who spoke through the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Sheik Goni, said the latest step at curbing environmental degradation in the oil producing region was an all-encompassing one, as “the three ties of pollution are being tackled simultaneously.”

Meanwhile, Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Austin Oniwon, has told Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) that the corporation has  surpassed its revenue target for 2011.

Oniwon said the revenue target for NNPC was  $13.9 billion but earned $16.7 billion.

The GMD added that the feat was achieved because the management  “has been firm and volume has been good with production of oil stabilising at 2.4 million barrels per day at that time.”

This comes as Shell Petroleum Development Company ((SPDC) has alleged that oil thieves steal a 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Nigeria oil with the assistance of some international collaborators.

In his presentation at the event, Country Chairman, SPDC, Mutiu Sunmonu, blamed recurrent oil spillage in the Niger Delta on sophisticated oil theft with the backing of some international collaborators.

Also, considering Nigeria’s consistent growth patterns in crude oil production and corresponding reserves, the Federal Government has declared that the next 25 years shows a promising outlook for oil and gas sector in the country.

Government stated that going by the trend, in the first 25 years from 1958 and 1983, the country produced over nine billion barrels of crude and condensate while another 18 billion barrels were produced in the following 25 years.

Alison-Madueke disclosed this yesterday, at the 29th yearly International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), in Lagos, where she was also represented by Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Morricent Fiddi.

 

The minister noted that government shares the same aspirations with stakeholders’ the drive to support reserves addition and growth of the industry adding that the potential of growing oil and gas reserves is enormous but that expertise would be required to turn the potentials into reality.

She pointed out that “exploration work is currently going on in the Chad basin” and that “there are potentials in other basins such as Benue, Gongola, Anambra, Bida and Sokoto.”

But the Senate continued to mount pressure on Allison-Maduekwe over the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) yesterday, with the minister begging for a closed-door session with the lawmakers on the matter.

Speaking at an interactive session with the officials of the Ministry of Petroleum led by the minister, Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Emmanuel Paulker expressed concern over the delay in re-presenting the bill, which lapsed with the sixth Senate.

In response, the minister said: “It’s very topical and sensitive at this point in time. I would like to talk in a closed session with the committee. I crave your indulgence to sit down with you separately in a closed session.”

Paulker replied: “The ball is in your court. Knowing fully well that the economy depends on oil, this bill is very important. I’ll also crave your indulgence to put your request on paper in order that we can push this bill forward.”

 

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