The Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, says the federal government will pass the Petroleum Industry Bill and revamp the nation’s refineries in 2017.
Mr. Kachikwu who made this known while highlighting the plans of the petroleum ministry for 2017, disclosed that government will dissect the nation’s oil and gas policies for optimum productivity.
He also assured that the ministry will accelerate revenue generation by looking into areas the government could make more money, stressing that the plan will enable it support the 2017 financing.
The minister said that apart from completing all outstanding Memoranda of Understanding, MOU, the government will leverage on the relationship the president has built over time to relate with foreign investors.
Mr. Kachikwu said in addition to trips to the United States and China, he will also embark on a roadshow to the gulf so that the Nigeria will cease to be a forgotten state and become an active participation block where investment can flow into.
“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 Donald Trump coming in,” Mr. Kachikwu said.
While commenting on the activities embarked upon in the outgone year, Mr. Kachikwu explained that the government was able to take away fraud impacted volume by reducing the volume of PMS the nation consumes daily from N50 million litres to N28 million litres.
He assured Nigerians that the nation’s oil industry will be run transparently, as against the opaque manner it was run in the past.
Mr. Kachikwu also confirmed that oil blocks will also be allocated in 2017, to partly fund the budget.
Commenting on the state of the nation’s oil refineries, the minister said the president has given him a matching order to commence refinery revamp. He reiterated the government’s plan to diversify the refining process so that the refineries can work optimally, noting that the process will begin this year.
Mr. Kachikwu also said that the government will work within liberalisation infrastructure such that it will take away the low hanging difficulties in the industry.
“We will focus on downstream issues. Although we have liberalised, there are still some challenges. The reality is that the marketers are still suffering,” he said.
The minister also pledged to look into security concerns in the Niger Delta region, stressing that government will ensure that the peace efforts put in place are maintained and improved upon.
“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.”
Mr. Kachikwu also assured industry players that government will develop agreement and opportunities on international oil companies, IOCs, and partners for better collaboration through engaging policies that will bring investment into the country. He said the ministry will run an oil industry that is at par with its counterparts worldwide; adding that efforts will be strengthened on investor relations.
On oil production, the minister said government will begin for the first time to track oil movement from production to destination, noting that there are too many leakages in the oil production chain in Nigeria.
“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.”
Private sector driven industry
While highlighting the challenges associated with public sector driven system, Mr. Kachikwu pledged to ensure that the industry is driven by private hands in 2017. He said that the industry has always been public sector-led and there have been problems.
He also promised to create a “private sector industry player club” to chart 2017 goals and mark out delivery system.
“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.
According to the minister, 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.
Mr. Kachikwu also promised that the government will look at the gas infrastructure that are suffering, complete the investment and get gas in every part of the country because it is key to power delivery.
The minister said the nation has four times volume of gas than oil, adding that even though oil has contributed immensely to the nation’s growth, gas is the future. He explained that gas will provide power, clean energy, and day-to-day burning of fuel at homes.
“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.”
The minister promised to give priority to stakeholders’ relation in the year, noting that periodicals will be published to highlight activities embarked upon towards achieving the industry’s goals.
He explained that the efforts will begin with a road show with state governments, adding that oil producing states will be brought together to look at long term dynamic investments areas across the states as well as how they engage companies in their states.
“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.”