The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, while speaking on Arise News Network, the sister broadcast arm of ThisDay, sated that Nigeria’s crude oil production was down to 1.7 million barrels a day (mbpd) following scheduled maintenance works by Shell and ExxonMobil, and that importation of petrol into the country was exerting about 40% foreign exchange pressure on the economy.
He said: “As of yesterday, we dropped because Shell (Bonga field) for example has closed down for maintenance and that has taken about 200,000 barrels. “Exxon is also doing some turnaround maintenance that is going to last about 30 days, those are non-violence related shutdowns and certainly would have been made easier if Forcados was back on stream. “So now we are down to about 1.65-1.7 million barrels per day as of yesterday.”
On the refineries operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) he said, “It takes almost 12 months to turnaround the refineries once you have the financing and model. We have set that target, we really don’t have an option, I’ve set that target for the ministry and if we don’t do that we will collapse because the 35 to 40% exchange rate burden by virtue of importation of petroleum products shouldn’t be. Sending out crude with all the uncertainties in terms of price movement is a killer. “So, we really don’t have an option, we have to work night and day to try and accomplish this.”