Int’l gas experts urge FG to ensure local refining, facilitate early kick-off of Dangote Refinery

Galveston, UNITED STATES: An oil refinery is pictured 22 September 2005 on Galveston Bay in Texas City, TX. Hurricane Rita threatens a large portion of the US oil and gas operations industry in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Texas coast just weeks after a devastating blow to the sector from Katrina. Oil producers and refiners were attempting to secure their facilities in the face of a storm that threatens about 27.5 percent of the industry, said Red Cavaney, president of the American Petroleum Institute. AFP PHOTO/Robert SULLIVAN (Photo credit should read ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP/Getty Images)

* Over $30Bn annually to import petroleum products:

* Plead for speedy work on PIB

The spending of over $30Bn annually to import petroleum products to Nigeria has attracted attention of over 292 gas experts at an international gas conference anchored in the University of Port Harcourt. The experts have placed a demand on the federal government to end importation of the products and also facilitate the completion of Dangote Refinery in Lekki, Lagos.

The 5th International Conference on Gas, Refining and Petrochemicals organized by the Centre for Gas, Refining and Petrochemicals (CGRP), University of Port Harcourt, in collaboration with the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE) which took place recently featured participants, drawn from captains and operators of industry (Nigerian Refining Companies, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited {NLNG}, Indorama, Notore), Academia, professionals, NGOs, and policy makers across the globe. Everyone was said to be eager to see the nation’s downstream sector of the Oil and Gas industry working again, and impacting positively on Nigeria’s economy

The international experts also rejected Nigeria’s continued dependence on importation for petroleum product needs and the impact on scarce foreign exchange, the economy, and loss of job opportunities. The experts

They observed also that privatization and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) have proved to be excellent economic models as seen at Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited, Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited and Notore Chemical Industries Limited.

It was observed that equity participation of host communities as in the Indorama Eleme model remains the hope for security and harmony in the communities for the corporations to grow.

The conference called on the Presidency and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to as a matter of priority discourage the importation of petroleum products. “All efforts should be made to get the nation’s four refineries back on stream either through Public Private Partnership as in the NLNG model or privatization as in the Indorama and Notore models.

Operators of the Downstream Industry should adopt reliability-centred maintenance practices (RCMP) as this will enhance their plants and operations for sustainable on-stream availability and high capacity utilisation.

“The Federal Government should ensure more private sector participation in the downstream sector to encourage effective harnessing of the nation’s gas and hydrocarbon potentials.

“The Federal Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission (NUC) should collaborate with the universities to change curriculum to inculcate big data, digitization and artificial intelligence in learning and research. This will produce the needed manpower of the future downstream sector of the Oil and Gas industry.”

The experts called on the FG to make all efforts to facilitate the availability of enough Natural Gas to support Indorama’s and Notore’s production of petrochemicals (polymers) and fertilizers, which are the engine room of both the industrial and agricultural sectors of Nigeria.

The National Assembly and the Federal Government were urged to speed-up the passage, signing and implementation of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) so as to fast track growth of the Oil and Gas Industry.

“The Federal Government should encourage foreign and local investors to achieve targeted financing of the downstream sector, especially the infrastructural development of the gas industry.”

The communiqué which was signed by the acting vice chancellor of the Uniport, Stephen Okodudu; chairman of the governing board of the CGRP, Anthony Ogbuigwe; National President of the National Association of NSChE, Anochie A. Otaraku;  and acting Director of Centre for Gas, Ipeghan J, commended the presidency for reintroducing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and urged the FG to consider the recommendations of the international gas experts.