NNPC hits $3.7b alternative financing, to raise output by 190,000bopd

Over the last three years, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has secured a total of $3.7 billion in Alternative Financing Agreement, the Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, has disclosed. Baru, presenting a paper titled, “Review of the Current State of Funding for the Upstream Sector and the Need for a New Policy Initiative,” during the 35th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) in Lagos Wednesday, stressed the need for external funding to sustain the nation’s oil and gas production and ensure the survival of its energy future. “Within the last three years, we have embarked on several successful Alternative Funding programmes to sustain and increase the national daily production and producibility,” a statement by the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, cited Baru as saying. According to him, the $3.7 billion financing package included the $1.2 billion multi-year drilling financing package for 23 onshore and 13 offshore wells under NNPC/Chevron Nigeria Limited Joint Venture, termed Project Cheetah, and the $2.5 billion alternative funding arrangements for NNPC/SPDC JV ($1 billion), termed Project Santolina. Others were the NNPC/CNL JV ($780 million), termed Project Falcon, as well as the NNPC/First E&P JV and Schlumberger Agreement ($700 million). Project Cheetah is expected to increase crude oil production by 41,000bopd and 127mmscfd, with a government-take of $6 billion over the life of the project, he stated. Similarly, he explained that Projects Santolina, Falcon and the NNPC/First E&P JV and Schlumberger Funding Arrangement are expected to yield combined increased crude oil and condensate production by 150,000bopd and 618mmscfd of gas, with a combined government-take of about $32 billion over the life of the projects. Based on the conference theme, “Beyond Cash Call: New Funding Strategies for the Nigerian Upstream Oil and Gas Industry,” Baru observed that evolving a new funding mechanism for the JV operations was critical in government’s reforms aimed at eliminating cash call regime, enhancing efficiency and guaranteeing growth in the industry. More so, as a result of the challenge of cash call underfunding, which rose to about $1.2 billion in 2016 alone, NNPC and its JV partners began exploring alternative funding mechanisms that would allow the JV business finance itself to sustain and grow the business. He added that with average JV cash call requirement of about $600 million a month, coupled with flat low budget levels over the past years, the budgeted volumes were hardly delivered even as “it is difficult to deliver the volumes without adequate funding. However, today, with the new Alternative Funding Arrangement, JVs will now relieve government of the cash call burden by sourcing funds for their operations (estimated at $7-$9 billion annually). Meanwhile, speaking on “Review of the Current State of Funding for the Upstream Sector and the Need for a New Policy Initiative,” Baru commended NAPE for its contributions towards shaping the nation’s oil and gas landscape. He stated that it was incumbent on NNPC to associate with such a professional body for the benefit of the nation, especially as all key pieces of legislation on the industry were based on templates that came out of previous NAPE conferences. Earlier, NAPE President, Abiodun Adesanya, said the cash call challenge was very critical because it affects all the objectives and targets of growing the reserves and increasing crude oil production in the country.

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