The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, says COVID-19 had helped to reduce the cost of crude oil production in the country.
“We have reduced the cost of production successfully the issues of our local currency notwithstanding.
“ Recently, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) have launched programmes on cost reduction and it has impacted the sector
“Both programmes have helped to bring down the cost of production, but what also helped us in reducing the cost of production is from a very unlikely quarter and that is COVID-19.
“With COVID-19, oil prices crashed and a lot of contracts were rationalised and we had to renegotiate, so, we were able at that point to get everybody on board to reduce the cost of production.
“Also, the fact that a lot of expatriates left because of COVID-19 made our locals to step in and of course, the locals are cheaper and we have to find local solutions to some of our problems.
“So, on the whole, we were able to significantly bring down the cost of production even beyond five per cent and our target now is not just five per cent, but we are targeting 10 per cent,’’ Sylva said, while briefing newsmen in Abuja, on Tuesday.
The minister put the daily consumption of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as Petrol, in the country at about 66 million litres per day, but was at some point brought down to 52 million litres even though it spikes once in a while.
He attributed the spike in volume to the activities of smugglers, saying that it was not a regular situation and could not be used as a measure to determine the volume of daily consumption.
“The average consumption has actually reduced from about 66 million to about 52 million on the average,’’ he said.
He added that government would continue to work with security agencies to ensure smuggling of petroleum products was eliminated in the country.