Thursday, 29 June 2017

It’s A Shame! Nigeria Is The Only Oil Producing Country Still Importing Refined Products - Ibe Kachikwu

The Minister of states for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu has lamented that Nigeria remained the only oil producing country still struggling with the importation of refined petroleum products. The Minister disclosed this while speaking at the 5th Triennial National Delegates Conference of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN in Abuja.

Kachukwu described as embarrassing the country’s inability to refine oil in the country. He said, “For me, the whole idea of continuing importation of petroleum products in this country is a shame.

“We are the only one, when we go for OPEC meetings that are still struggling how to import petroleum products when we should be able to produce even if it is only the petroleum products that we need in this country.

“We need to find anything that will help us to do that and I encourage you to collaboratively work with us as we get into this.

“Once that happen, it is going to open a whole vista of opportunities in marketing, midstream performances, opportunities in infrastructure along pipeline.

“I urge you to take the solidarity that you have and you sing so passionately about away from just fighting issues of staff welfare and move into issues of staff investments.

“I need to see you participate in the value chain. Some of you are some of the best brains there are in the industry and you know where the issues are and where to create new investments.”

While predicting the future of oil in Nigeria, Kachikwu said that at best, the nation’s oil reserve will last for another 25 to 39 years, while the nation’s gas reserve will last for over 60 years.

The Minister said that it was embarrassing that the country cannot even produce the amount of petrol need for domestic consumption.

He suggested that the country must brace up to ensure efficient management of the refineries and make them productive or lose them and the job opportunities it offers.

Kachikwu also bemoaned the epileptic power in the country, citing other African countries that have more steady power supply.

“It is a shame that a country with such massive resources will continue to be epileptic in power supply. I go to Ghana sometimes and I am ashamed that we supply some of the gas.

“At least in Accra, and most of the major cities, power is 24 hours. In Ivory Coast, despite the problems they have in terms of power costing, there is 24 hours supply.

“There is no absolute reason why this country cannot move from this decadent practice of explaining inefficiency to a new horizon where visibility are grandiose.

He also pledged him availability and commitment to working with the power sector and all involved to transform the power sector.

“I am committed to working with the power ministry and every Nigeria to move the transformative journey from one point to another, from the point excuses to the point of absolute final delivery.

“The reality is that the oil industry is changing almost transformatively. Prices have tumbled and have continued to struggle despite all the works we have done in OPEC to boost it.

“The reality is that investments are declining at an alarming rate and suddenly, there are new entrants into the industry.

“Also, CEOs are struggling as to where to put very scarce resources and suddenly, it is now how well you can market your country, reposition your policies in such a way that there are benefits. All is a sudden, investment return in some of these exploration activities are beginning to get challenges.

“Only those who are able to look at their technology and new ways of doing business are going to survive the oil industry of tomorrow.

“If you take the annual return of most of the major oil companies, you will see the sort of disequilibrium that’s happening there and those who are beginning to jump in and out of leadership, you realize that expectations are changing.

“As it concerns Nigeria, we must work inclusively hard to deal with some of the difficulties that we will continue to see in our production platforms.

“Whether it is the militants which is a key component or the slow speed of approvals or whether the fact that our policies are not even as fast as they should to catch up with changing Times.

“Those of us who have the opportunity to seat in ministerial zones where we have to influence policies have got to work extremely hard to help drive the sea of change that is imperative is the sector is to survive. Infrastructural deficit is a key component. We lack infrastructure in the sector, whether it is down stream or up stream or oil and gas.

The minster also inputted that the absence of infrastructure has undermined private sector participation, hence they have to be encouraged because government cannot do everything along.

He also added that the oil and gas sector has to be put together if there Nigeria is going to experience any significant improvement in the economy and creation of jobs.

“The absence of infrastructure has made it impossible to have a holistic private sector participation.

“We have got to find policies that will encourage private sector participants to play a key role. Coupled with that is the fact that countries are moving away from oil.

“Our oil estimate as per reserve is at best about 25 to 30 years, while gas estimate is over 60 years.

“Clear enough, Nigeria is more of a gas country than an oil country. But what are we doing to ensure that our dramatic movement into the gas production. I am just coming from the FEC where we presented a memo on gas which has been approved today.

“Major movement is in terms of what we need to do in the gas environment because it is so key that unless we can put the two energy together, we are not likely to see an improvement in our economy or see opportunities that most of you are beginning to miss in terms of job creation and employment in the oil sector.

“Gas is the new horizon of opportunity. There is so much happening that needs to happen, that should have happened yesterday.

“Gas is the future for this country and the place to be and we need to start looking at that. Increasingly, we are seeing very strong local players.”

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