Nigeria can boost its oil and gas production by changing the way capital investments are funded in its joint ventures with energy companies, according to Seplat Petroleum Development Co.
State-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., or NNPC, holds an average 55 percent stake in five joint ventures with Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Total SA and Eni SpA that pump more than 80 percent of the country’s crude. It pays the same share of capital contributions for the operation of the oil ventures.
Seplat, a Nigerian producer now running a joint venture with NNPC after buying assets sold by Shell, wants the current funding arrangement in Africa’s biggest oil producer scrapped in favor of a method less dependent on the government. The “cash call” requirements are a “constraint” affecting production, Ambroise Orjiako, the company’s chairman, said in a June 5 interview at the World Economic Forum Africa in Cape Town.
“We need to find a situation where the joint-venture partners sit down and agree on what percentage of production should be dedicated on operation and capital expenditures,” Orjiako said. “That way you ensure that growth in the industry is guaranteed, that the production will increase, that the reserves will be increased and that there will be room for exploration activities as well,” he said.
The Nigerian government struggles to meet its share of funding to the operation of the joint ventures with energy companies, thereby limiting the scope for increasing production. It is currently indebted to companies including Shell, Exxon Mobil, Total and Eni, which had provided loans in the past to fill the funding gap.