Alison-Madueke Promises to End Graft in Oil Sector
By Chika Amanze-Nwachuku
The federal government is putting in place far-reaching reforms that will address malpractices in the oil and gas sector, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, said at the weekend.
Alison-Madueke, delivering a memorial lecture on The Strategic Importance of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry to Global Security and World Global Economy, at the Howard University in Washington D.C., United States of America, anchored her optimism on the reforms enshrined in the Petroleum Industry Bill, which is in the works.
According to her, the bill, when passed into law, would address the endemic corruption that has characterised the sector over the last five decades.
The minister, an alumnus of the university, noted that the oil and gas industry has been accused of not being transparent over the years, but assured the gathering that reforms will bring sanity to the industry and make it more viable for investment.
She said: “With the PIB, which is going through its final review, major reforms will come into the oil and gas sector, which has severally been accused of not being transparent.
“I think that over the years, there have been many filthy practices not only in the oil and gas sector, but also in many sectors. But there are also many reform initiatives that are digging deep and are beginning to take root.
“I think it takes a little time for them to become fully enshrined. But I must say we are already seeing some very good results and I am hopeful that over the next three four years, we will see a much broader sense of transparency within the sector at least in Nigeria.”
She added that Nigeria’s oil industry has the potential to alleviate global supply issues if fully developed.
She said the country’s oil and gas reserves were estimated at 37 billion barrels and 187 trillion cubic feet respectively, and Nigeria’s leading role on the regional and continental sphere placed it in a vantage position to provide a low-hanging mechanism to address global security challenges.
The minister said Nigeria currently aspires to grow its 37.2 billion barrels crude oil reserves to 40 billion barrels and increase production capacity from the current figure of over 2 million barrels per day to 4 million barrels per day by 2020.
“Nigeria’s deep water and shallow offshore fields have proved to be highly prolific. With capacity expansion by almost 1 million barrels per day over the next few years, Nigeria can significantly contribute to global supply and diversification, thereby alleviating the challenge of supply concentration around the Middle East,” she said.
According to her, the federal government was also leveraging on the nation’s abundant gas reserves through gas infrastructure development to stimulate rapid domestic and regional economic growth and grow liquefied natural gas exports.
In addition to building a gas-based domestic industry, through gas to power, petrochemical and fertiliser plants, she said Nigeria will expand its liquefied natural gas capacity from current 26 million tonnes per annum, (MTPA) by an additional 20 MTPA through the Brass LNG project, for which the final investment decision, she said, was fast approaching.
Alison-Madueke added that with energy at the heart of every economic, environmental and development issue, it has inextricably become linked to global security and the economy.
She identified rising energy demand and increasing concentration of supply, high oil and gas import bills, rapidly progressing climate change, food security and global terrorism as some of the issues that have compounded the situation.
She said the government plans to ensure equity participation in areas such as the gas pipeline projects and it will also ensure that over time, the private sector will play a more active role in areas such as pipelines, tank farms, and depots, among others.
“When that happens, as it certainly will, we will find that it will also begin to address some of the issues of transparency and underlying corruption,” she said.
Culled from Thisday