Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, has called for a stop to the importation of petroleum products into Nigeria.
He said this in his ministerial address titled: ‘Reforming and repositioning the oil and gas industry in Nigeria’ at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
Kachikwu said it was a shame Nigeria had been importing finished petroleum products for years and said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) must meet its target of ending petroleum products’ importation between 2018 and 2019.
He said: “Importation of petroleum products will have to cease. There’s absolutely no reason why a country with the resources that we have will continue to import petroleum products. It is a shame on this country, it is a fraud on the system and we are going to end it.
“If we do that, the downstream will survive; but if we don’t, then by the first quarter of 2020, the Dangote refinery will come on board. And if that happens, it then means we will have scraps in our hands as refineries. Therefore, there’s the urgency of now to end importation.”
He added that assets vandalism had been a major challenge of the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
“Our crude oil export pipeline system namely, Trans Forcados to the west, the Obangbiri-TemiDaba-Brass in central Niger Delta, the Nembe creek trunk line and the Trans-Niger pipeline, which evacuates crude produced onshore to export terminals, were subject to severe vandalism.
“Similarly, the Bonny-Port Harcourt crude oil pipeline and the Escravos-Warri-Kaduna crude oil supply pipelines were not spared. In spite of this, we witnessed a peak production of 2.35 million barrels per day recorded at the beginning of 2016, which declined to an almost all-time-low of 1.3 million barrels per day per day due to incessant vandalism. Our 2016 crude oil production averaged 1.85 million barrels of oil per day”, Kachikwu added.