Austin Avuru, Chairman of AA Holdings and former co-founder of Seplat Petroleum (now Seplat Energy), has foreseen a significant decline in the demand for Nigeria’s crude oil, projecting a 61% reduction in international markets by 2060. Speaking at the pre-conference workshop of the 2023 Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, Avuru emphasized the global shift toward renewable energies, anticipating a decrease in Nigeria’s crude oil demand from the current 103 million barrels annually to 40 million by 2060.
Avuru identified coal as the first energy source to be phased out, followed by fossil fuels and then gas. He supported the Nigerian government’s emphasis on gas as a transitional fuel, noting its longevity in the evolving energy landscape, according to Punch.
He urged the Federal Government to intensify exploration efforts and maximize the country’s abundant natural resources to bolster its economy before the projected decline in oil demand. To achieve an ambitious crude oil production target of 3 million barrels per day by 2027, he asserted that an annual investment of $21 billion would be essential, emphasizing that international oil companies’ (IOCs) divestment from oil and gas exploration was a key challenge.
Theft is a primary obstacle to Nigeria’s oil production increase, attributing the stagnation to the lack of investment from IOCs, according to Avuru. He highlighted a changing landscape where banks were withholding loans from the oil and gas sector, multinational companies were redirecting funds to renewables, and independents faced difficulties accessing assets divested by IOCs.
Crude oil production in Nigeria has faced challenges since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with output dropping to 900,000 barrels per day in September last year before a modest recovery to around 1.3 million barrels per day last month, according to statistics from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).