The Federal Government has said that from 2019, the country would begin tracking Nigeria's crude oil and would be able to account for every drop of the commodity produced in the country.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, in a podcast distributed to newsmen in Abuja last week, disclosed that the Federal Government was already working with the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, to develop an information technology (IT) platform that would make the crude oil tracking possible.
He said, "There is the issue of crude tracking - how do we track every molecule of products we have, crude and refined products? We are putting together an IT platform that will enable us do this. We are working with DPR and hopefully, by 2019 the issues of whether we could not account for our crudes will no longer occur."
Kachikwu also stated that the Federal Government is planning to conduct a licensing round for the award of oilfields in inland basins to companies to prospect for crude oil, adding that the government is also working on the rules to guide the process which would be conducted along with the marginal fields bid round.
"We are planning our marginal fields' rounds and we are also planning our inland basins rounds. It is going to be a transparent process to bring people to get us more oil. The rules are going to be out soon once it is approved by His Excellency," he noted.
The inland basins in Nigeria are Niger Delta, Chad, Anambra, Benue Trough, Benin, Sokoto and Bida basins.
He further stated that following the exit from the joint venture cash call arrangements with multinational oil and gas companies, the country had received investment requests amounting to over $15 billion.
He said, "We were able to exit the joint venture cash call. Still a bit of things to be ironed out there but for the first time, multinationals began to have belief in their need to invest in the country.
"The amount of investment requests we are seeing from joint venture cash call members is today in excess of $14 biollion - $15 billion dollars, which are for purposes of projects like Zabazaba, Bonga extension programmes and all that. Multinationals are beginning to have confidence that this system is working."
The Minister lamented that infrastructure in the energy sector were old and dilapidated and that the Federal Government could no longer fund their revamp.
"Infrastructure is key to us. Our infrastructure is 30 to 40 years old; completely dilapidated, and cannot be funded by the government anymore. I am working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the DPR to launch our infrastructure masterplan and bring people who can invest in them," he maintained.
Kachikwu averred that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources would be conducting an industry rewards in December to reward oil companies that have done well over the course of the year in terms of low cost of production among others.
He also declared that the government would be releasing the fiscal policies, which are awaiting the approval of the Federal Executive Council, FEC.
According to him, the fiscal policies would expand income in the short term by over $2 billion a year to the federal government, while on the long term, over $9 billion, adding that the Federal Government plans to leverage on that to work with the National Assembly to translate the policies into legislative provisions.