Stakeholders in the downstream oil sector value chain have called on the federal government to make the operating environment more conducive to businesses in order to attract more investments into refineries as core infrastructure.
They made the call at the just concluded 2020 edition of Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) in Abuja.
The Executive Chairman, Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, Emmanuel Iheanacho, a former Minister of Interior, said the country has not been able to get things right despite having been in the oil and gas business for over 60 years.
“We are not investing enough in refineries. Instead of waiting on OPEC to give us a quota of 2 million barrels per day (bpd), we can produce 4 mbpd and build refineries to refine and add value to our crude” he said.
He further implored the government to take a second look at subsidy on petroleum products in terms of cost and efficiency.
“Open market competition creates efficiency in the system. In that vein, government must take a look at the subsidy regime and regulation. The subsidies do not really benefit the common people” he said.
In his presentation, the Managing Director of OHV Energy Huub Stockman, stated that refining is a catalyst for the rest of the oil and gas industry.
Stockman noted that refining has the power of changing Nigeria from net importer to self-sufficiency adding that while increasing Nigeria’s refining capacity is of central importance, attention must be given to other drivers of the downstream sector such as improved quality and safety of trucks as well as further investment in terminals and pipelines.
On his part, the Director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Sarki Auwalu, acknowledged that refining is key to government’s goal of making energy affordable saying “Government wants to create the enabling environment for investors to come into the downstream sector” he said.