‘Nigeria’s oil reserves may last for only 49 years’

By Simon Okeke 

The World Bank released a report titled “The Changing Wealth of Nations 2021” on Wednesday, which noted that the current Nigerian oil reserves would only last about 49 years unless new oil wells are discovered.

“Oil-producing countries like Nigeria and Ecuador could entirely deplete their oil reserves in fewer than 50 years at current depletion rates, assuming no other significant oil fields are discovered or become commercially viable,” the authors of the report wrote.

The report also says that resource-rich countries such as Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Iraq are in need of better wealth management to avoid disastrous consequences to their national wealth in the future.

“This is true not only for hydrocarbon-rich countries such as Iraq and Nigeria but also for some mineral-rich countries, such as Guinea and Sierra Leone. The negative adjusted net savings in these countries are a lead indicator of unsustainable wealth management. If continued, it will negatively impact the value of future wealth,” the report said.

Investments in renewable natural resources and human capital could help countries not rely so much on oil and gas but diversify their asset portfolio for a more sustainable future.

The report explained: “This is because the value of a depleting non-renewable asset is being consumed rather than being invested in offsetting asset accumulation such as via human capital or productive capital investment. Therefore, governments may need to consider policies that would better preserve and build wealth or look for alternative sources of income to raise their net savings.”

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