The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has announced that Nigeria would explore the possibility of selling crude oil to African markets. He spoke in Abuja yesterday at the 2017 edition of the Sustainability in the Extractive Industries (SITEI) conference.
Kachikwu said the country’s oil firms must develop the capacity to compete in the continent, while government provides the necessary incentives. He said: “Nigeria has to begin by looking at the country first. What do we do to encourage local companies to be able to compete in Africa? It is along these lines for example, that we have started product or sector specialisation which are the areas where we have the most competitive advantages.”
The minister disclosed that the country would host the 19th conference of the African oil producers next week, to deliberate on these key areas. He expressed concern that the country has not been able to capture the African terrain of the market, adding that the market must be captured in terms of contract awards, whether in crude, investment or other formulations.
Kachikwu explained that government was weaving a relationship nexus that would enable it to look at the African market due to the competitive nature of the environment.
He said it was difficult to capture America and Europe as their demand base is fast declining, adding that the only countries that are available are Africa and Asia.
The minister stressed that the country’s challenge is how to ensure that every drop of oil or gas that comes into Africa must be from Nigeria.
“These are the things that our country and Angola need to fashion out to stabilize supplies. It would be perused over the next few years, as OPEC’s struggles to capture its market would become very critical,” he said.
He explained that Nigeria must also ensure that that there is a drastic reduction in the costs of production to about $15 per barrel, which could be achieved through cost reduction initiatives, in conjunction with the implementation of the new National Fiscal Policy.
“We are in a phase of development where the issue of infrastructure framework has become critical. Our downstream infrastructure deficit alone requires that we invest around $10b in the next three decades.
“We can never be an economic powerhouse without a vibrant local economy and defined industrial base. A nation without a solid manufacturing base would slide to dependency and waste of resources,” he said.
The convener of the conference, Bekeme Masade, said it was critical for the country to have a framework that encompasses environmental management, human rights, community engagement and economic largesse.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNP), Dr. Maikanti Baru, explained that production has hit 2.2million per day with a plan to increase it to 2.5million in the next few years.
Baru, who was represented by the Chief Executive Officer, (Gas and Power), Saidu Mohammed, said the resumption of exploration in the Benue Chad Basin was aimed at increasing oil production.