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    /logo_min.gif - 1122 Bytes The Guardian Online
    Sunday, August 5, 2001

    Nigeria To Exhaust Oil Reserves In 29 Years

    BY AMBROSE AKOR

    POLITICAL REPORTER

    NIGERIA'S oil reserves are to be exhausted in 29 years time, a British Petroleum (BP) report has said.

    The recent report, which was carried out by BP to ascertain the quantity of oil reserves available worldwide and how long it would take to exhaust them, indicates that Nigeria has 22 billion barrels of oil untapped.

    According to the report, it would take 29 years to exhaust these "proven reserves" available in the country if the current production level would be maintained.

    Recent Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) reports show that 27.8 million barrels of crude oil was purchased from the federation during the first quarter of 2001.

    By 1958 when commercial production of petroleum began, Nigeria was producing oil at the rate of 4,000 barrels per day and exporting the same from Port Harcourt.

    By independence in 1960, Nigeria was producing 17,000 barrels per day.

    Oil production in Nigeria, shortly after it joined the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in July 1971, was vigorously pursued and production in 1974 reached an all-time high of 2.2 million barrels per day.

    A number of times, production levels rose or fell either because of drop in oil prices or for cutbacks ordered by OPEC.

    According to the BP report, members of the OPEC cartel jointly have 815 billion barrels amounting to three-quarters of proven reserves worldwide.

    The economically advanced countries, which use most of the world's oil, have less than one-tenth of the world's total reserves.

    Saudi Arabia is the kingpin, singly having a quarter of the world's proven reserves, amounting to 262 billion barrels, which is expected to last for 181 years.

    Of all countries, Libya has the highest reserves of 26 billion barrels which by current production levels is expected to last for 55 years.

    Nigeria is second to Libya in Africa but appears to be less economical with its reserves as its oil deposit which is only four billion barrels less than Libya's is expected to be exhausted 24 years before Libya exhausts its reserves.

    Algeria's proven reserves of 10 billion barrels, according to the report, is expected to last for 17 years.

    Angola with seven billion barrels of oil in proven reserves is expected to exhaust its deposits in 20 years. Oil took over from agricultural products as the premier export for Angola in 1973,

    The BP report shows Venezuela as having 78 billion barrels in reserve and it is expected to exhaust the reserves in 66 years.

    Iran with 85 billion barrels in proven reserves will equally produce until 66 years.

    Kuwait has 97 billion barrels and United Arab Emirate 98 billion barrels but both have their reserves lasting for over a hundred years.

    Some other countries mentioned in the report and their proven reserves include Indonesia with five billion barrels lasting 10 years; Britain with six billion barrels lasting five years; Canada with eight billion barrels lasting nine years and Azerbaijan with nine billion barrels lasting 63 years.

    Others are Brazil with 10 billion barrels lasting 18 years; Kazakhstan with 10 billion barrels lasting 31 years; Norway with 12 billion barrels lasting eight years; China with 23 billion barrels lasting 20 years and Mexico with 25 billion barrels lasting 24 years.

    The United States has 30 billion barrels of proven reserves and by its current production level the reserves will last for 10 years and Russia has 44 billion barrels in reserves which is going to last for 21 years.

    A number of times before, global oil crises have reduced world oil production levels. Such an event is expected to affect the projections.

    Global oil crisis reduced production in Nigeria from 2.10 million barrels per day in 1977 to 1.5 million barrels per day in February 1978.

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