PETAN proffers solution to fuel scarcity, alleges depletion of reserves
• Govt moves to address energy crisis via modular refineries
• Labour blames Kacikwu’s dual role for impasse
Indigenous oil and gas operators, under the auspices of Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), have called on the Federal Government to privatise the refineries as a panacea to the nation’s perennial fuel challenge.
They also expressed worry over depletion of the country’s crude reserves, saying no new addition had been recorded in the last 10 years.
PETAN chairman, Bank-Anthony Okoroafor, who addressed reporters in Lagos yesterday, said: “Government should encourage more oil exploration activities so that what happened to us with the refineries will not happen with oil production as well. We had four refineries and we failed to maintain them as and when due until they gave up. We need to push for increase in exploration activities if we want to remain a major oil-producing country in the world”.
He noted that drilling activities had become too low that exploration, which peaked in the late 60’s, dropped to a very low level in the past 10 years.
Okoroafor added that this period of falling oil price has made it imperative for government to encourage exploration so as to shore up reserves.
Besides, the Federal Government has promised to explore the use of modular refineries in its quest to solving the country’s energy challenges.
Getting the production targets right and not allowing them to derail like the refining targets, the PETAN chief urged government to encourage more investments in oil exploration activities.
He argued that the best way to do this is to stabilise the fiscals of both the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Okoroafor maintained that fiscal stability can be achieved if government pays off its joint venture cash calls and makes it a first line charge.
He also stressed the need for government to ensure that its fiscal terms in respect to Joint Ventures ownership were investment-friendly.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, while speaking at the African Modular Refinery Seminar in Lagos, said government would reform the oil and gas sector by adopting and executing a Comprehensive National Oil and Gas Master-Plan (NOGM) as the roadmap for the petroleum industry’s development, diversification, privatisation and governance.
The Vice President assured that government was determined to ensure that the country becomes self-sufficient in petroleum product refining as well as emerging a net exporter of the commodity.
Meanwhile, Labour has said the concentration of power on Kachikwu was depriving the sector of adequate attention.
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) president, Wabba Ayuba and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Bobboi Kaigama made their opposition to Kachikwu’s dual role of a minister and NNPC GMD known yesterday in Abuja.