The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday unfolded the Federal Government’s plan for the oil sector in 2017, including passing the long-overdue Petroleum Industry Bill and overhauling of the refineries.
In a statement, the minister said oil and gas policies will be restructured for maximum productivity, which will improve revenue generation by looking into areas the government could make more money.
According to him, the government will complete all outstanding Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and bring in more foreign investors.
Kachikwu said as a follow-up to his trips to the United States and China last year, he will also embark on a roadshow to the Gulf.
“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,” he said.
On activities embarked upon in 2016, Kachikwu said that the government was able to eliminate fraud-impacted volume by reducing the volume of PMS the nation consumes daily from 50 million litres to 28 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.
He also confirmed that oil blocks will also be allocated in 2017.
Kachikwu also said that the government will work within a liberalization framework to remove 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.
On the Niger Delta, the minister promised to look into security concerns in the region, to bring peace.
“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 government will develop agreement and opportunities on International Oil Companies (IOCs), and partners through engaging policies that will bring more investment, and strengthen investor relations.
On oil production, the minister said the government will begin for the first time to track oil movement from production to destination.
“This year we are going to commit to trying to find a way of tracking our oil so that from the moment when a 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 challenges associated with public sector driven system, Kachikwu said the government will ensure that the industry is driven by private hands in 2017.
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 galvanize the energy of the private sector within the first two months,” he said.
According to the minister, a 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.
Kachikwu also promised that the government will look at the gas infrastructure that is suffering, complete the investment and get gas in every part of the country because it is key to power delivery.
The minister said Nigeria 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 this year.
He said 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,” he said.