Uche Usim (Abuja) and Adewale Sanyaolu
President Muhammadu Buhari, has vowed to bring crude oil theft to its kneels by looking at practical solutions to the menace.
The President gave the assurance at the ongoing 24th World Energy Congress (WEC) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.
Buhari’s pledge may not be unconnected with the 77 per cent rise in oil pipeline vandalism as contained in the June monthly report of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with 106 pipeline breaches in June, up from just 60 in May.
Represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipreye Sylva, Buhari said the Federal Government would deliver Final Investment Decisions (FIDs) on at least four key projects within the nation’s oil and gas industry by the end of last quarter this year.
He said his vision was to bequeath a vibrant petroleum industry that will guarantee long term strategic investments and prosperity for Nigerians.
“My plan is to ensure that during my tenure, four Final Investment Decisions (FIDs) are taken. I am sure that within the next quarter, we should be able to conclude on some of these FIDs so as to grow the industry,” the Minister stated.
The Minister also highlighted gas development as part of government priority to fast track the industrialization drive of the country.
“As you are aware, we are focusing on the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline project which will address some of our power issues and encourage the setting up of local industries and businesses along different areas in Nigeria.”
Sylva also shed more light on the imperative of rehabilitating the nation’s refineries, saying that it was unsustainable for Nigeria to continue to import petroleum products.
The Minister further stated that while private investment in the refining sector is encouraged, Government should focus more on the repair of its existing refineries.
“People are talking about modular refineries, we know that modular refineries are part of the solution but they can only be part of the solution and not the solutions themselves. So, we are going to try to encourage modular refineries but before that, we are going to really focus on repairing the existing refineries to ensure that we are back on stream very shortly,” Sylva added.
He maintained that government was also looking at the issue of reducing the cost of production through robust engagement with the International Oil Companies (IOCs) towards getting best value for all stakeholders.
According to the Minister, Nigeria needed to lend its voice to global energy fora as they remain some of the best platforms where major decisions that impact the global energy landscape are taken.
Meanwhile, Nigerian oil exports, reports say, is increasingly heading to Los Angeles refineries due to limited pipeline link from Shale production but report fears the favourable export window may soon shut
The report said that Nigeria’s oil earlier displaced by U.S. shale, has found an unlikely new outlet this year to the coast of the continental United States that is farthest from the Nigeria’s shores.
The shale boom has upended the global market, turning the United States from a keen buyer of Nigerian oil to an aggressive competitor.