The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Slyva, said that about one billion barrels of crude oil have been discovered in northeastern part of Nigeria, the same zone of destabilising insurgency by Boko Haram.
Sylva made the disclosure at a news conference to end the 2020 Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS), in Abuja on Wednesday. He did not give the specific location, but the NNPC began last year oil exploration in Kolmani River, part of the Benue trough.
“The figure we are getting, the jury is not totally out yet but from the evaluation results, we are getting the reserve that has been discovered in the northeast is about a billion barrels.
“Those are the kind of figures we are seeing and we are beginning to understand the geological structure of the region,” he said.
According to him, a lot of oil is yet to be found in the country.
He added that there was a need for more exploration in the country as more oil would be discovered.
Commenting on the passing of the Petroleum Industry Bill ( PIB) by June, he said that he was confident that it would be passed based on a cordial relationship between the legislature and the executive.
“We are banking on the fact today to make that promise on the fact that there is a very cordial relationship now between the legislature and executive.
” Today Nigerians all agree that there is a need for us to pass the PIB.
” For so long we have been quivering about the PIB, for more than 20 years. And for so long, we have not been able to attract a lot of investment into the oil sector.
” Let me give you an example, by the year 2002, our oil reserves stood at around 22 billion barrels. We were able to grow that reserve from 22 billion barrels to 37 billion barrels by 2007.
” From 2007 to now, we have only been able to grow our reserves from 37 billion barrels to 37.5 billion barrels, in more than 10 years. Why? Not much investment is coming into Nigeria,” he added.
He noted that investors could not invest in Nigeria if the fiscal framework was shaky or uncertain.
“If nobody knows when laws will be passed, nobody will want to invest new capital in Nigeria. And that is why you see that we have almost been stagnant in the Nigerian oil industry.
So, we believe today that there is a consensus among all of us – industry, Nigerians and government – that there is a need to stabilise the fiscal framework so that investors will be certain and move their money to Nigeria.
” There are very great opportunities in Nigeria, and I believe if we can only stabilise the fiscal framework and bring peace to Nigeria, investments will flow into Nigeria.
“That is really what gives me the confidence to say that there is a consensus now among all patriotic Nigerians that in six months the PIB will be passed,” he added.