JUST IN: Ministers Task Agencies’ Heads On Boosting Production, Investments

Ministers Task Agencies’ Heads On Boosting Production, Investments

Ministers Task Agencies’ Heads On Boosting Production, Investments

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In a strategic move to enhance production and attract investments in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, the ministers of state,  petroleum resources, Heineken Lokpobiri (oil) and Ekperikpe Ekpo (gas),  have charged the heads of agencies and top management staff of the ministry, to work in unity to achieve the ministry’s key performance indicators.

The ministers who spoke during a sectoral retreat on ‘Ministerial deliverables 2023-2027’ held in Abuja on Tuesday, stressed the need for the heads of agencies and staff of the ministry  to find ways to build synergy for enhanced development in the oil and gas sector.

the minister of state Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, who said the solution to Nigeria’s numerous challenges lies in the petroleum sector, emphasised the need for the country to ramp up crude oil production to enable it meet its revenues target and save the country from the current foreign exchange crunch.

Lokpobiri charged the heads of agencies and top management staff of the ministry, to work in unity to achieve the ministry’s key performance indicators.

Some of the key performance indicators he listed include; ramping up production, rehabilitating the refineries, tackling insecurity and vandalism, and ensuring competitiveness in fiscal and regulatory frameworks, among others.

The minister also hinted; that the ministry was working towards re-signing the local content law, which was suspended by President Bola Tinubu due to misapplication.

He also disclosed that the ministry had begun a campaign to attract investors into the sector, while stating that one of the major challenges that made investors pull out, was due to the regulatory framework of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), and the lack of an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the country

Lokpobiri’s stand came following global debates on the need for oil-rich countries, to wind up oil and gas exploration, and focus on renewable energy sources as a way to promote a cleaner environment.

On this part,  minister of state for petroleum resources (Gas) Ekperikpe Ekpo, said an expansion of the critical gas infrastructure network is required if Nigeria is to attract new investments into the sector.

The minister harped on widespread penetration of gas nationwide to realise its full potential as a transition fuel.

According to Ekpo, as a nation endowed with over 208 TCF in proven gas reserves, Nigeria should not be grappling with energy poverty. “It is imperative for us to collectively confront these challenges head-on. In alignment with the overarching goal of fostering high performance and accountability within the government, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has issued the Presidential Priorities and Ministerial Deliverables for 2023 – 2027.

“This initiative seeks to establish a robust performance-tracking mechanism for the minister of petroleum resources and the pertinent agencies under his purview.

“By expanding our gas infrastructure network, we can enhance access to gas markets, stimulate investment in upstream exploration and production activities, and create new opportunities for economic growth and diversification.

“This entails not only increasing domestic gas production but also promoting the adoption of gas as a cleaner alternative for power generation, industrial processes, transportation, and household use. Initiatives such as the “Decade of Gas Initiative” are instrumental in driving gas utilisation across various sectors through targeted interventions, infrastructure development, and policy incentives,” he said.

He explained that one of the key elements in the nation’s transition towards a more sustainable energy future lies in the strategic utilisation of natural gas, adding that gas emerges as a vital transition fuel that holds the potential to bridge the gap between traditional fossil fuels and renewable sources of energy.

“In our pursuit of a low-carbon economy, gas often referred to as the ‘cleanest’ fossil fuel, offers several noteworthy benefits. Its burning emits a great deal less greenhouse gas than that of coal and oil, which makes it a desirable choice for lowering carbon emissions and slowing down global warming. Gas-fired power plants are incredibly adaptable and can be quickly ramped up or down to account for variations in the production of renewable energy, offering a dependable backup for intermittent sources like solar and wind power.”

The minister said Nigeria must prioritise infrastructure development to support the exploration, production, processing, and distribution of gas.

“This includes investments in gas pipelines, liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities, and gas processing plants to ensure efficient transportation and monetisation of our gas resources,” he said.

Speaking further, he said that to promote ease of doing business and to stimulate the development of the nation’s abundant hydrocarbon resource, President Tinubu had issued an executive order for the ministry of petroleum resources.

The executive order, according to him, would shorten the procedure for getting approval for contracts to which companies in the petroleum sector, including those controlled by the Federal Government, as parties; raise the contract approval thresholds in production sharing contracts (PSA) or joint operating agreement (JOA) to not less than $10,000,000 to account for the rate of inflation.

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