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FG working to enhance status of oil & gas in nation’s economy

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.To raise domestic refining by 90 per cent in 20 months

The Federal government of Nigeria, has said that the country will sooner than later become one of the world biggest economy through oil and gas exploration, just as the new initiative of Nigeria international petroleum summit NIPS is designed to introduce latest technology and economic viability through the creation of employment and needed opportunities to Nigerians and Africans.

This was the view of President Mohammed Buhari, on Monday, while declaring open a 5-day international petroleum summit in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The president, who was represented in the occasion by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha Mohammed, said that the summit has actually availed the country with opportunity to increase its economic base.

He said that the summit, which was put together by the Honourable Minister of state for petroleum Dr. Ibe Emmanuel Kachikwu, is quite significant for several reasons, as it has the full backing of Mr. President of Nigeria .

He said it will also avail all Nigerians the opportunity to meet with the major players in the industry.

He said that the programme’s logo, was unveiled by the Vice President in June last year during OPEC meeting in Abuja, preparatory for Nigeria’s economic recovery model.

He said that as a major component of administration’s economic plan, the summit is however, designed as Africa’s economic target; improving its technological base, its is pertinent to say that as an African technological and economic plan, the summit is however, designed as an African version of the American OTC, based in TEXAS Huston USA, which has become a knowledge base for the world oil and Gas industry.

He said, “It is therefore to emulate the concept and enrich the content by the leadership of our country

“this summit will afford Nigeria the opportunity to improve more especially on the new innovation as well as galvanizing of Nigeria as a leading oil nation in Africa”.

He said the summit is also designed to generate employment, create economic benefit and expand business in Nigeria and Africa.

He said it will afford Nigeria the opportunity to showcase it potentials to the international community more especially the new initiative to sanitize its sector, and technological advancement in the oil and gas sector and as a nation Nigeria will become a leading nation in the Industry.

“As you are aware, Nigeria has been a major player in the sector for years. He said Nigeria is a leading oil explorer in Africa through oil and gas and seventh in the world worth billions of dollars. He said it has run major international sectors in the oil and gas industry.

“Having produced two Secretary Generals of the OPEC, I therefore make bold to say that the country has played significant roles ranging from policy making by the captains of industry and major players then it is worthy to say that Nigeria for now has identified the capacity to lead in the area of planning as part of the problems facing African continents.

“This would not only enhance the energy sector, it will encourage huge importation of products. It will as well encourage relationship among African countries to ensure that this initiative is achieved. I therefore, ask you participants, to take the challenges of this summit to make things open to private sector participation in the National summit in the petroleum, which will set an agenda for the 2020 economic recovery”.He said.

The president, noted that parts of the efforts of the petroleum industry’s , is to pull Nigeria out of economic recession, and sustain increase in foreign reserve with 25 per cent increase in GDP.

The president, also said that effort to stabilize Niger Delta will continue to receive a good attention to ensure a sustained oil production.

On the ease of doing business, he said the administration will continue to support investment and transparency in business environment so that investors will feel at ease.

Recently, the president said that his office signed the bill that would improve the need for local contain policy in Nigeria for technology programme.

He said the agenda for this meeting will avail Africa the opportunity to ponder on gas revolution in Africa, it will enhance the changing face of Nigerian oil and gas sector.

Speaking earlier, the Minister of state for petroleum resources Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said the summit was borne out of the desire to replicate the American OTC, which has become a tourism more or less a jamboree participants with the boosting of the American economy

He said “After that of last year, I vowed never to attend the OTC again because it has become a jamboree to Nigeria attendees”.

He said the Federal Government’s vision is to have Nigeria refine most of its crude locally was ongoing, adding that Nigeria is targeting raising domestic refining capacity from 14% to 90% within 20 months.

“My target is that over the next 10 years, Nigeria would produce an FPSO and that is not too much to ask,” he said.

“And over the same period, Nigeria would gravitate from crude oil, as it were, to very refined, clean provision of fossils.

“My target is that over that same period, investment in the sector, in the sense that Nigerian companies, Nigerian entities and Nigerian shareholders, would begin to move from the minuscule 10 percent today to between 40 and 50 per cent of local investments.

“There are major plans, everywhere you look, there are opportunities in the oil sector. What have we achieved since the launch of the 7Big wins two years ago? We have been able to, through a lot of struggle, change the funding capacity for the upstream, and that had sort of energised investors in the upstream sector.

“Now , we are beginning to see projects like Egina, $15bn; Zabazaba, potential $10bn; Bonga, potential $10 bn, and the likes…put at over $40 bn potential investments over the next five years, if we do the right thing, set the right models and set the right policies.

“We have addressed refineries, for the first time, we are creating a model where target investments are going into the dilapidated refineries.

“We are still targeting to be able to get these refineries up and running from about 14 per cent utilisation capacity self-sufficiency 90 to 95 per cent over the next 18 to 20 months.

“If we do that, hopefully, we would begin to move drastically to self-sufficiency in the production of refined petroleum products.”

Kachikwu stressed that his office has also engaged in ensuring that the oil and gas industry received proper industrial legislation and policy making for a standard practice.

He said that aim is to liberate the continent from the shackles of poverty having played second

He said, “You see, Africa remains the only continent with economic set backs and question is, why should Africa remain back warded. Remember that if we do the right thing here in Africa, this summit will provide an opportunity and a new beginning for us in Africa”.

Also the Group managing Director NNPC Dr. Maikanti Baru, while addressing the gathering said that the summit has replicated and rival that of the Abu Dabi conference, which has also become an annual business conference. While congratulating the Minister of state for the effort and ensuring that the conference becomes a success, said that the summit will ensure for the revival of the economy emerging from recession.

On the area of job creation and boosting of the economy, Baru, noted that efforts to put the summit together will at the long run, reposition the industry in Nigeria and indeed Africa.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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