The Group Managing Director, Eterna Plc, Dr. Gabriel Ogbechie, has emphasised that increasing Nigeria's crude oil production is a solution to the current economic challenges facing the country.
He made these remarks while speaking during a roundtable session at the 29th Edition National Economic Summit in Abuja.
The session, themed “Igniting Growth: Energy and Nigeria's Global Race,” focused on how the energy sector can be modernised to bolster production, reduce operational costs, enhance global trade, and boost the economy.
Speaking on the panel, Ogbechie said that Nigeria have vast oil reserves and oil accounts for over 95% of our foreign earnings. Yet the country continues to fall short in terms of production, which has had a negative impact on the country's economy.
Ogbechie stated that Nigeria, as a gas-producing country, should not be importing LPG but should harness its gas potential to meet its domestic LPG needs.
He said, “There's been a lot of back-and-forth between fossil fuel and renewable energy, but Nigeria still remains largely a fossil fuel country.
“We have proven oil reserves of more than 36 billion barrels; unfortunately, our current production is at best 1.4 billion barrels daily, and Nigeria needs to do a lot to ramp up production.
“I firmly believe that Nigeria, at a minimum, should be able to produce about 3 million barrels of crude oil every day, as fossil fuel or crude oil production accounts for more than 95% of our foreign exchange earnings.
“As you can see, the economy is struggling because we are not earning enough foreign exchange due to the fact that we are not producing enough crude oil.
“Our proven gas reserves are more than 208 trillion cubic feet, unfortunately, a lot of this gas is being flared.
“The oil producing companies pay fines for flaring gas in the field, it's more like a slap on the wrist and not a sufficient deterrent for them not to flare this gas.
“It is, however, embarrassing that we still import LPG into the country, using scarce foreign exchange to sell. Nigeria should be self-sufficient in our LPG needs; we should not be importing LPG
“The Federal government should encourage those who have these assets to go ahead and work these assets.”
Ogbechie said that Eternal Plc is contributing its share to support the growth of the energy sector and is increasing its capacity to take up more responsibilities in the sector. He called on the government to continue to support the energy sector.
He called on the government to continue supporting the energy sector in terms of policies.
Other members of the panel include Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Oil and Mr SIMBI Wabote, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB amongst others.