Nigeria's crude oil production including condensate reached 2.069 million barrels per day (mbpd) in April 2018, according to data from the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
Though there is a slight increase from the 2.022mbpd the country recorded in March, this means Nigeria is still struggling to step up production to meet the 2.3mbpd benchmark proposed in the 2018 budget.
The country therefore has a short fall of 278,000 bpd from the 2.3mbpd budget benchmark for 2018.
The Ministry, which made the disclosure in its monthly oil and gas report released recently, put the country's gas production at 7.98 billion standard cubic feet (bscf) during the month under review.
It also revealed that Nigeria imported 51.56 million litres premium motor spirit (PMS); 1.55 million litres automotive gas oil (AGO); 1.58 million litres dual purpose kerosene (DPK); 1.46 million litres aviation turbine kerosene (ATK); and 1.02 million litres low pour fuel oil (LPFO).
Speaking on the Federal Government's plans to boost crude oil production, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru said that the corporation has been able to bring down the cost of producing a barrel of crude oil to $20, even as it now targets producing the black gold at $15 per barrel.
Meanwhile, industry experts have said the signing of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), would not only retain the $15billion annual investment in the oil and gas sector, but will boost employment, and guarantee stable operational environment in the Niger Delta.
Speaking at a policy dialogue recently, the experts argued that the non-signing of the law casts an air of uncertainty on the industry.
The experts included the Adviser to National Assembly Committee on Petroleum Resources, Dr. Francis Adigwe, Director, Emerald Energy Institute,e University of Port Harcourt, Prof Wumi Iledare, and Director, Claude Ake School of Government and Claude Ake Chair of Political Economy, University of Port Harcourt, Prof Eme Ekekwe.
Iledare said the President would be writing his name in 'gold' by signing the PIGB, saying, "the President signing this bill into law will be scoring a crucial goal in an election year," while stressing the need to establish an Energy Council that will deliver quality advice on energy matters.
His words: "If the President wants to be properly guided, he must move away from political advisers and get professional adviser.
"The PIGB ought to have been given to his energy professional advisers in the Nigeria Energy Council to give him an energy opinion. There is a difference between a Minister and Special Adviser because when a Minister brings a memo to council, the President then gives the memo to his Special Adviser on Energy for a professional advice because the President is not supposed to have expertise in all areas."
Prof Ekekwe, who commended the National Assembly for ensuring the passage of the PIGB, however, cautioned against selling of the Federal Government's assets to foreigners, as government seeks to liberalise the sector.
By Roseline Okere and Collins Olayinka