The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, yesterday lamented that Nigeria is the only oil producer struggling with the importation of refined petroleum products. The situation is a complete embarrassment, he said.
Kachukwu, who spoke at the fifth Triennial National Delegates Conference of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) in Abuja, also said it was shameful that despite its huge resources, Nigeria continued to grapple with epileptic power supply.
He said Nigeria should be able to produce enough petroleum products to meet domestic needs, pointing out that changing times in the industry suggest that the country must look for ways of ensuring efficient management of the refineries and make them productive or lose them and the job opportunities it offers.
He said the nation’s future lies in gas, adding that at best, the nation’s oil reserve will last for between 25 and 39 years. The gas reserve will last for over 60 years.
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 about 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 happens, 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.”
On epileptic power in the country, he said: “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. I am committed to working with the power ministry and every Nigerian to move the transformative journey from one point to another, from the point excuses to the point of absolute final delivery.”
Kachikwu said further that “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.