From Adewale Sanyaolu, Abuja
The Federal Government has announced plans to attract $50 billion into the oil and gas sector.
Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu, stated this at the ongoing Oil and Gas (NOG) Conference 2017 in Abuja with the theme, “Reforming and Repositioning the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria”. He said that the investments would address challenges facing the oil and gas industry, covering pipelines, refineries, gas and power, facility refurbishment and upstream financing.
Kachukwu said that the objective was to bridge the infrastructure funding gaps in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.
“Time has come to reduce the cost of crude oil production and have the right incentives. Three years ago, we had cost issues, technological issues but not issues of where the money would come from because of crude price regime.
Between 2015 and 2016, we took drastic measures on how to moderate prices, while between July 2016 and now, there have been lots of stability in the downstream economy. There are still some challenges but work is in progress,” he said.
He explained that in 2016, the Nigeria upstream sector of the oil and gas industry was challenged by the menace of upstream assets vandalism, adding that the crude oil export pipeline system including Trans-Forcados to the west, the Obangbiri-Temi Daba-Brass in central Niger Delta, the Nembe creek trunk line and the Trans-Niger pipeline, which evacuate crude produced onshore to export terminals were subject to severe vandalism.
On the other hand, he said the Bonny-Port Harcourt crude oil pipeline and the Escravos-Warri-Kaduna crude oil supply pipelines were not spared.
But despite the challenges, he stated that the country witnessed a peak production of 2.35 million barrels per day (bpd) recorded at the beginning of 2016, which declined to an almost all time low of 1.3 million bpd due to incessant vandalism.
“Despite these, Nigeria still remains a leading producer in Africa with potential to boost production to the neighbourhood of 3 million bpd by 2020.