Nigeria earns $180bn from deepwater oil block operations – NNPC Boss

SEVEN out of the eighty-seven deepwater oil blocks in Nigeria are producing, while six are at different stages of development, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, on Wednesday announced at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas.

Bello Rabiu, Chief Operating Officer, Upstream of the NNPC, who represented Baru made this disclosure while delivering a paper, titled ‘Deepwater operations in Nigeria: The journey so far,’ at the panel session organised by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria at the conference in Texas.

Deepwater operations involve mining for oil at offshore depths exceeding 200 meters and extending up to 200 nautical miles seaward from the coasts of Nigeria.


Nigeria currently has eighty-three deepwater oil and gas blocks out of which thirty has been awarded to oil firms. However, only eight oil blocks have been issued oil mining leases (OMLs) that have begun production.

Baru stated that Nigeria held approximately 13 billion barrels of oil, out of which about two billion had been produced with a huge volume yet untapped.

“Discovered deepwater assets in Nigeria hold approximately 13 billion barrels of oil, out of which about two billion has been produced. There is a huge volume yet untapped and opportunity abounds.

“Also, the industry has committed capital in excess of $65 billion and generated revenue exceeding $180 billion, thereby, creating value for all stakeholders. There are more barrels of oil to be recovered. Therefore, more opportunities are waiting,” he said.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, 2015 report revealed that after the first Oil Mining Licence, OML, for deepwater operations was issued in 1993, International Oil Companies, IOC, in the country committed $864 million for exploration and production activities in the first six years of its operations.

This later increased to $1.3 billion at the end of 1998 which reflects the low participation of indigenous oil firms due to its exorbitant costs according to data obtained from the Department of Petroleum Resources 2017 Oil and Gas report.



    He stated that the deployment of the latest technology is a leap the corporation intends to maintain. Emphasising that of the 15 floating productions, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels in Nigeria, seven have been deployed for deepwater operations.

    “I expect an upward trend in activities within the deepwater operations in Nigeria and continued deployment of leading technology,” he affirmed.

    Admitting that half of the deepwater blocks were open and urged players in the oil and gas sector to start to open up adequate linkages to the local economy.
    “At my last count, about 10 deepwater projects are lined up for sanctioning. Also, given the lead time for project maturation, the time to build is now for us to achieve the results we desire, seizing the chance to develop our oil and gas industry and by extension the economy.
    “The gains enumerated in terms of production and reserve growth, revenue and value creation, manpower and technology development need to be sustained. I must reiterate that sustaining these gains means all hands must be on deck.
    “We must leverage the expected growth in deepwater for national development. We expect within the next 10 years that production from Nigeria deepwater would double,” he said.

    Data Sources:

    CBN Report 2015 | DPR Oil and Gas Report 2017

    Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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