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According to TheCable, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says Nigeria’s proven natural gas reserve had become 203.16trillion cubic feet (tcf), while crude oil reserve was 36.89 billion barrels (bb) as at January 1, 2020.

NAN reports that Sarki Auwalu, DPR director, gave the numbers on Wednesday during an online interactive session with journalists.

Auwalu said the new figures represented a marginal increase of 1.16tcf in proven natural gas reserves representing 0.57 percentage increase from the previous 202tcf recorded on January 1, 2019.

The crude oil reserve, however, declined by 82 million barrels from 36.97 billion barrels in 2019.

According to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Nigeria’s crude oil reserves stood at 37.453 billion barrels in 2017 and 2016; 37.062 billion barrels in 2015 and 37.448 billion barrels in 2014.

Speaking on the ongoing bid rounds for 57 marginal oil fields, Auwalu said: “These are fields that have been unutilised and we believe that this was overdue because the last time Nigeria did bid round for the marginal fields was in 2003.

“Between that time and now, a lot of professionals have come into the industry and some companies who were among the 24 successful companies are now considered oil-producing companies.

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“So, there is a lot of appetite to invest in Nigeria and the government also needs revenue because the benchmark for the 2020 budget has been revised to $27 per barrel.”

Auwalu also clarified that the marginal fields embroiled in litigation were not part of those in the fresh bid round, although the department included some of the previous 24 that were not utilised by successful bidders.

“The bidders were given awards and not licences, and they were to develop the fields within 10 years,” he said.

“Some of these companies failed to achieve the conditions for the awards. In 2013, they were granted an extension to 2015. Thereafter, another extension was granted to them till 2018 and they could not bring the field to production.

“Technically, the government is losing, so that is why they were brought back for bidding and it is an opportunity for the previous bidders to bid again and have another 10 years to develop them again.”

The bidding will be done electronically.

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