By Yetunde Bada
Abuja – The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu say plans are ongoing to upgrade the nation’s oil and gas infrastructure.
Kachikwu said this during a stakeholders’ workshop to review the challenges of the Nigeria’s Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) sector.
According to him, it is time for Nigeria to harness alternative fuel sources like LPG as under-recovery from the importation and sale of petrol at the government-regulated price of N145 per litre has hit N1.4 trillion.
“It is a shame that at this stage in our national life, we are still talking about uses and challenges of the LPG. However, I think government is focused in all the areas.
“We are hoping to launch an infrastructure rebirth map for the oil sector over the next two months, and I hope his Excellency, the President will launch that.
“The effect is that it will be to open up tariff and create policy positions that will enable people to actually go in and invest in critical infrastructure that is needed.
“This is because anywhere you go, whether it is distribution of petroleum products massively through trucks, rather than through pipelines, whether it its been able to take crude into refineries or distribute gas throughout the country, infrastructure is so key.
“There are lots of stranded gas and power everywhere. Distribution is key, infrastructure is key.
“We need to find a way of finding enough incentives to enable the private sector go in very bullishly and put the money where it is supposed to be,’’ Kachikwu explained.
The minister said the issue of under-recovery was being addressed at a “very high level’’.
“Clean energy is very essential and we need to move away from complete utilisation in our transport sector of only petrol, which is creating a lot of under-recovery of N1.4 trillion per annum of exposure to the government.
“At the end of the day, we begin to go into other components of cleaner fuels and rely less on PMS that is gotten from out of the country,’’ he said.
He said resolutions from the meeting would include recommendations for the Department of Petroleum Resources on licensing and enforcement.
“Over and above just going after individuals who have done it wrongly, what are the incentives, schemes and structures we need to put in place? Where are the official distribution and sales centres?
“If we deepen the regulation, deepen the licensing and enforcement, we should be able to get there.
“Like you know, we already have a gas policy, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and all of this is in there.
“What this group is going to do is to take a piece of that as it concerns LPG and say how we can take that policy document and expand and activate the whole LPG,’’ Kachikwu said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in March, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had put the corporation’s present expenditure on petrol subsidy at N774 million daily.
Baru said this was because there was a rise in the number of filling stations in communities around the nation’s borders hence daily consumption rose to 50 million litres instead of 35 million litres of PMS. (NAN)