July 13, 2024

NUPRC aims to explore Nigeria’s 1.6 billion heavy crude reserves

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Ilenre Irele

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) in a meeting with industry operators and service providers resolved to seek ways to harness Nigeria’s 1.6 billion heavy crude oil reserves, out of which it said only 5 per cent is currently developed.

Ordinarily, there are light, medium and heavy crude oils, with heavy crude being highly viscous and cannot easily flow from production wells under normal reservoir conditions.

Speaking during an industry-wide workshop in Abuja organised by the commission, the Chief Executive of the NUPRC, Mr Gbenga Komolafe, noted that given the current dynamics in the sector, Nigeria needs a paradigm shift from traditional, ‘siloed’ approaches towards a collaborative model that leverages the strengths of all stakeholders.

His speech was themed: “Entrenching Accelerated Development of Petroleum Prospecting Licenses (PPL) Assets and Heavy Crude Reserves Through Strategic Partnerships with Technology Drivers and Industry Service Providers.”

“Heavy crude oil certainly is part of our valued hydrocarbon resources but yet to be effectively valorised. Heavy crude oil, often characterised by its high density and viscosity, presents a significant opportunity for Nigeria’s energy sector.

“Available records reveal that as of January 1, 2024, Nigeria’s heavy crude reserves stood at about 1.67 billion barrels. 62 per cent of this volume is proven while 38 per cent is unproven. 71 per cent of the total reserves are domiciled in acreages operated by NEPL, 12 per cent in IOC-owned acreages, and 17 per cent are found in other operating companies’ acreages.

“In terms of terrain, we have 78 per cent onshore, 3 per cent at swamp, and 19 per cent offshore. Despite this huge volume, the quantum of heavy crude oil reserves developed in Nigeria is just about 5 per cent. As a result, there is a need for a concerted effort to improve value delivery from this segment of the petroleum spectrum, which will ultimately lead to energy security, job creation, and economic growth,” he stated.

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