The need to reduce Nigeria’s high cost of governance, embrace local petroleum product refining, develop quick fixes for crude oil thefts and vandalism, as well as a sustainable and diversified mass transportation system, were among the options put forth by oil and gas experts yesterday in Abuja as a way to combat the country’s elusive oil sector and skyrocketing petroleum product prices.
This comes as long lines of drivers jostled for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in Abuja and other regions of the nation as subsidies, now hovering around N6 trillion, were being paid.
The Federal Government must first walk the walk by lowering the cost of governance before asking the populace to endure hardship in order to move the country forward, particularly in the area of subsidy payment, according to several experts who spoke at the Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference.
They also warned that the country’s security situation, which includes theft and vandalism, will continue to harm the economy and discourage investment needed to address problems in the upstream and downstream sectors.
Tunji Oyebanji, a former leader of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), claimed that the dependence on PMS and the current downstream sector architecture will not advance the nation.
“Government must act in accordance with its words. When you are asking people to shoulder a heavy load, you cannot continue to operate at a given level without explicitly attempting to minimize the cost of governance, what you spend, and what you spend money on, he added.
Oyebanji bemoaned the country’s decades of chances being squandered and added that it never takes action until there is a significant deficit.
Instead of discussing the availability of adequate local refining capacity, he argued that immediate action was required.
“We also need to do some other things to make it possible,” Oyebanji said. Therefore, I believe that significant investment in mass transit is essential. I’m referring to ferries. I’m referring to railroad tracks.
“Let’s just use Lagos as an example. Imagine a ferry that has a 3000 person per hour capacity. Think about the traffic that would be reduced and the benefits to the populace. With Lagos’ enormous population, consider how long it has taken to even create a rail system. There are many more things that could have been done much more easily to lessen this so-called dependence on PMS and everyone driving their cars on a daily basis.
Additionally, he added, “We need to make big investments in other alternative sources, such as CNG and LPG, but once again, the economics have to be sound.
Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) announced during the occasion that it would keep expanding the availability of cooking gas in the region.
Phillip Mshelbila, Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria LNG Ltd., stated that through the ongoing NLNG Train 7 project, the business would examine the supply side, the infrastructure, and the commercial or economic framework required to handle the building of gas pipes.
According to Roger Brown, chief executive officer of Seplat Energy Plc, currency convertibility to allow the importation of equipment in dollars while having a revenue stream that is mostly in naira continues to be a concern for the sector.
In his statement, the managing director of Niger Delta E&P, Gbite Falade, lamented the unfavorable investment environment in the nation, particularly the rising level of insecurity.
He pointed out that the pricing structure presents difficulties for investors and discourages financiers, and he added that the government needed to move backward and permit private investors to enter the market.
According to Falade, the current losses might persist unless the nation makes use of its resources and encourages investors so that products are polished domestically.