Impact Of Covid19 And Falling Oil Prices On Nigeria’s Economy

Seplat CEO, Avuru

In an interview, Austin Avuru, CEO, Seplat Petroleum Development Company, speaks on the impact of Covid-19 and falling oil prices on Nigeria’s economy.

How is Nigeria’s oil and gas industry faring in the face of the current pandemic?

AUSTIN AVURU : The combination of the current pandemic and the rapid decline in demand for crude oil globally is reflected in current oil prices. In real terms,we are expecting to end 2020 with an aggregate price that is half of what our original budget price was. The immediate resultis are vision of the 2020 budget and cuts  of 30-40%. Therefore, the aggressive budget spending initially allocated to fuel development and facilities has been scaled back.

However, we are not scaling back a large amount of our spending on gas. We are also looking at our operating expenses and reducing them as much as possible. Overall, our target is get close to a neutral cash flow position in 2020. So the main target of our budget restructuring is to be able to survive FY2020, with the hope that during 2021 prices will climb back to the $40 mark and we will manage to resume our planned investments. Meanwhile, in 2020 the keyword is survival.

To what extent will the current situation affect supply chains in the oil and gasindustry?

AVURU:A slock down rules are being lifted around the world, supply chains are gradually being restored. We encountered a few weeks of disruption in terms ofv endors that were building some parts for us in Italy and China ,but these are now back to normal.For those that are not, we are hopeful that it will be a matter of weeks before they are also able to resume operations.

The supply chain in oil and gas remains highly contingent on the global supply chain,with the US, Europe and China providing services, equipment and materials for our work sites. Most of  the sea activities are still ongoing. Even during the lockdown period, we managed to maintain supply chain efficiency, and continued all drilling and production operations. With lockdown is now being lifted, this network is being reinforced in away that will not affect tour operations going forward.

In what ways in the oil and gas sector supporting national efforts to fight the current pandemic?

AVURU:There has been a joint industry effort coordinated by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation. Since the beginning of the outbreak, which raised around$30m.This has been directed to the procurement of materials and support services to fight the pandemic.

Which major changes can we expect to see in the oil and gas industry moving forward?

AVURU:I think that one of the major changes will be the way that we work and conduct business.Many people believe that after the pandemic it wil lbe possible to run our businesses without coming to the office. However, we will still need people to physically go to work,as the core of our industry is in the field.

Our business is to produce crude and natural gas, and that is the bottom line. Everythingwe do is to ensure that, in the field, we are able to produce the volume of crude oil and natural gas that we promised to the markets. Therefore, field activities will continue in the traditional manner,and the coordination and management support will continue to take place from the office and from home. However,a number of tasks that were previously conducted in person, such asmeetings and training sessions, will still need to be carried out remotely for the foresee able future.

What are some of the measures that Nigeria could take in order to minimize the impact of the pandemic on the economy in the medium to long term?

AVURU:I think that it has become imperative for the economy to broaden in scope.The over reliance on oil receipts is no longer sustainable. The 2020 budget is now being restructured by the federal government in line with the expected drop in oil  receipts.The short  fall is expected to be around $17bn in 2020, which is significantly more than the $3.5bn that was recently  borrowed from the IMF.

As a result, there is going to be a drastic reduction in government expenditure. A lot of the subsidies will also have to be cut back  because the government will no longer be able to afford them.

Remittances,which have been quitea strong measure of foreignexchange, are also likely to take a hit. This means that both oil revenue and diaspora remittances will be affected,which are the two main sources of dollar  earnings by the  economy. In the long term, there will be an emphasis on gas, especially domestic gas that will go towards supporting industrialization and electricity generation.

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Posted by on Jun 10 2020. Filed under Business, Health, Interview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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