Militancy: Nigeria May Become Net Importer Of Crude If… – Expert Warns | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Militancy: Nigeria May Become Net Importer Of Crude If… – Expert Warns

avengers, MEND; NDGJM
Posted: Jul 18, 2016 at 6:04 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Ahmed Musa

Abuja – The ongoing disruption of crude oil production due to the bombing of oil installations by militants in the Niger Delta and current efforts at boosting refining capacity by both public and private investors may force the country to become a net importer of crude oil in the nearest future, an oil and gas expert has warned.

Mr. Osten Olorunsola, chairman of the board of the Energy Institute of Nigeria, stated this in a keynote address at a two-day Stakeholders Technical Roundtable on “Perennial Petroleum Products Scarcity in Nigeria, Prospect and Sustainable Solutions” organised by the House of Representatives, Committee on Civil Society Organisations and Development Partners in Abuja.

Mr. Olorunsola who retired from Shell Petroleum to join the public sector chronicled the history of oil exploration in Nigeria and factors leading to the dominance of the sector to the detriment of other sectors.

He said the nation in order to move forward from the stagnation caused by over-reliance on oil  Nigeria must avoid being stuck with past paradigms, which tended to shut down ideas and limited solution horizons.

“Having clear understanding and accommodating new thinking and ideas may just be all we have been waiting for. For example, I see a surge to establish new refineries as a way of helping to solve the supply problem.

“That looks good, albeit with potential huge risks, as at the last tally, country-wide aggregate capacity of existing plus newly approved refinery licences was greater than  two million barrels per day by the year 2020.

“Whereas that looks like the direction we aspire to go, I like to freely advise green refinery investors to ensure all critical considerations for viability are met. A key requirement that gives me real concern is the availability of crude oil as feed stock.

“If all that capacity is indeed achieved as planned (which we are praying for), I bet we may become a net importer of crude oil considering the installed and available production capacity today, the natural decline in the hydrocarbon reservoirs, and the unhealthy outlook for investment in the upstream due to militancy in the production environment,” he said.

Speaker Yakubu Dogara who was represented by his Deputy, Sulaiman Yussuff Lasun while declaring the event open expressed worries on the incessant nature of scarcity of petroleum product in Nigeria, describing it as unacceptable.

“It is now a fact that the oil and gas sector is of critical importance to our economic survival as a nation. Therefore the incessant scarcity of petroleum products has become worrisome which has been attributed by several analysts to corruption in the sector created by infrastructure deficit, managerial incompetence, lack of proper regulations just to mention but a few.

“However, with the increment of the fuel pump price, the products scarcity and long queues of fuel have subsided but at a higher cost which may not be affordable by the common man on the street,” he said.

Dogara explained that the National Assembly as a parliament may not have all the answers but is confident enough to provide platforms for experts and other stakeholders to assist in bringing solutions for the problems, forming the basis for legislation.

Also speaking during his welcome address, chairman of the Committee, Hon. Peter Akpatason (PDP, Edo), stated that the roundtable had become necessary due to that fact that scarcity of petroleum products has become solely a Nigerian problem created by Nigerians for selfish ends, making it to defy all applied ad hoc solutions.

“Due to the ad hoc and unsustainable nature of most of the measures adopted in the past, the problem has continued to resurface from time to time, and has therefore become an embarrassment and a major stumbling block in the path of our national development, ” he said.

Akpatason whose committee has no direct bearing with issues in the oil sector also gave an insight into what informed it’s decision to organise the event, saying that “apart from the fact that all Nigerians have a role to play and are consumers of the product, the search for sustainable solutions to development challenges has to be an all-inclusive affair”.

“This event is therefore deliberately designed to provide opportunity for stakeholders from both private, public sectors and civil society organisations with thematic interest and experiences in the subject matter, to examine the issues critically with a view to identifying new ideas, practices and solutions in light of trending global developments, ” he added.

The event, which was, organised in collaboration with civil society organisations and international development partners and ending today is expected to generate communiqué with far-reaching recommendations aimed to proferring solutions to the subject matter.