Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, has revealed the ministry’s plans for Nigeria’s Petroleum sector in 2017, assuring that the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, will be passed into law and the nation’s refineries revamped.
Kachikwu disclosed that government will dissect oil and gas policies for optimum productivity, as well as accelerate revenue generation by looking into areas that could yield more revenue.
The minister also said his ministry will complete all outstanding Memoranda of Understanding, MOU, and leverage on the relationship President Muhammadu Buhari has built over time to relate with foreign investors.
“We are going to receive and complete all the MOUs that we began… the one in China…the one in India… we are going to do a roadshow to the UK…for Europe. We are going to do a roadshow to the U.S. with President DonaldTrump coming in,” he said.
Kachikwu stated that in 2016, the federal government was able to stop the fraud in the distribution of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, commonly known as Petrol, by reducing the volume the nation consumes daily from 50 million litres to 28 million litres.
On the state of the nation’s oil refineries, the oil minister disclosed that President Buhari has given him express directives to commence refinery revamp so that they can function optimally, adding that the process will commence this year.
He added that “We will focus on downstream issues. Although we have liberalised, there are still some challenges. The reality is that the marketers are still suffering.”
Kachikwu also assured that “We are going to focus on the Niger Delta.”“It’s been too long a lingering issue. We are going to work with every aspect of the presidency to try and find solutions to this.“We are going to work to stabilise oil production… a lot of work is required,” he said.The Minister promised a better relationship between government and International Oil Companies, IOCs, which will bring investment into the country.
He promised that his ministry will run an oil industry that is at par with its counterparts worldwide, adding that efforts will be strengthened on investor relations.He said: “This year we are going to commit to trying to find a way of tracking our oil so that from the moment when molecule is produced, to the time when it is sold and where it is sold, we will be able to track that.“
If we do that, we envisage billions of dollars in savings from the federal government.”
On the involvement of the private sector in Nigeria’s petroleum industry, Kachikwu pledged to ensure that the industry is driven by private hands in 2017
.“Public sector is key to be able to regulate the sector and make sure people are operating within parameters; but ultimately, the infrastructure, investment, services and discipline have to be private sector led.
“We will galvanise the energy of the private sector within the first two months,” he said.
Kachikwu also said that gas revolution will form a key aspect of the government’s policy for the year and it would boost government revenue.“Gas revolution will be key. First, we are going to track gas flare and commercialise it so that no more flare happen in this country.
“We have set a 2020 date for ourselves even though the international fora at the UN had set a 2030 date. We are very aggressive about this, we want to make money from flare,” he said.
The minister said that Nigeria is blessed with four times the volume of gas than oil, adding that though oil has contributed immensely to the nation’s growth, gas is the future.“For so long we have pretended to be an oil producing nation and yes we were; but Nigeria really is a gas nation with a lot of substantial gift of oil,” Kachikwu said.
The Minister promised that periodicals will be published by the Petroleum ministry to highlight activities embarked upon towards achieving the industry’s goals.“This year we are going to be open; we are going to be as much the manager of the oil resource as I am going to be.
“We are going to owe the responsibility to the Nigerian nation to deliver on those blueprints that we have set ourselves to deliver,” Kachikwu said.