Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu
From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has given assurance that the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petroleum will crash from the current N145/litre within four to six months.
Kachikwu who made the prediction in a podcast message to mark his two years in office did not give the likely price the vital product would be sold.
According to him, the forecast springs from what he described as the competition inherent in the PMS price modulation.
The minister said the price of diesel, which is now 40 per cent lower than what hitherto obtained, amid surplus supply, was enough evidence that petrol prices will also crash.
He said: “once Nigerians throw their trading skill in it, once competition thrives, the prices will continue to tumble.
“My guess is that you will see the prices tumble in the next four, five to six months. The market will be more stable and definitely, the prices will be lower than what we see today.”
On the refining capability of the nation’s refineries, Kachikwu this was the first time the three refineries would be working simultaneously, although at 50 per cent of their capacity, in the last 10 years.
“We expect to put in investment to put them to 90 per cent capacity,” he said.
According to Kachikwu, this his tenure was also the first time the NNPC Group has recorded savings, which could be used to fix the refineries in collaboration with its Joint Venture partners.
The Minister further noted that this was the first time the government upgraded the nation’s depots, adding that out of 19, only three are grounded currently. (The Sun)
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu
There are indications that the Federal Government will sell two of its three crude oil refineries that are found to have become commercially unviable as part of measures to boost the nation’s refining sector.
The two refineries likely to be sold, according to a report of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation obtained by our correspondent on Friday, are the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company and the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company
The NNPC said last week that the consolidated capacity utilisation of the three government-owned refineries dropped to 23.09 per cent in May, from 24.59 per cent in April.
The third refinery being managed by the NNPC is the Port Harcourt Refining Company.
Although the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, in the new National Petroleum Policy approved by the Federal Executive Council, said the government aimed to make the refineries successful and commercially viable enterprises, it stressed that government was ready to sell any of them that failed to meet respond promptly.
It said, “They will be encouraged to become so and will be supported as much as it is within the government’s ability to do so. Each refinery will be given a transition period in which to set themselves up on their own feet.
“Ultimately though, if a refinery fails to make the transition and become commercially viable, the petroleum policy is for the government to divest (sell off), grant a concession or if necessary, close down any non-performing government-owned refinery. In either instance, the site may be handed over to a suitably qualified private sector developer to build a new refinery facility on the same site.”
According to the policy document, of the three NNPC refineries, Port Harcourt is expected to be the best place to succeed.
It said, “It has installed its own independent gas-fired power supply; it has undertaken its own turnaround maintenance; it is close to jetties and the pipeline length from crude oil suppliers is short (less of a pipeline security risk), and it is operationally ready to produce refined products to international standards, although the cost structure is still not right.
“Of the three, Kaduna is perhaps the least ready currently because of its distance from crude oil supplies and reliance on a poorly maintained crude oil pipeline.”
The government described a strong refining sector as a basic requirement for the achievement of the vision of converting the nation’s economy from a crude oil export to an oil product and derivative value-added economy.
It said without strong, high volume and commercially viable refineries within the country, the whole vision would not be achievable.
The government noted that the refineries had been underperforming for many years, stressing the need for the refining sector to undergo fundamental reform so that it could play its central part in economic development.
According to the policy document, steps that the government will take to encourage the development of a viable refining sector in the country include making the NNPC refineries become autonomous profit centres and returning storage depot assets to the refineries.
It said under the restructuring of the NNPC, the refineries would be set up as independent profit centres with responsibility for their own commercial operations.
The government noted that the storage depots were originally part of the refineries but had been subsequently transferred from the refineries to Pipeline and Product Marketing Company.
It said, “This arrangement is not considered to have been successful. The PPMC has failed to manage the depots effectively and the refineries have been denied an important part of their assets. The storage depots will, therefore, be returned to the refineries.
“In addition, the perimeter fence around the refineries will be set sufficiently far from the operations including depots to ensure that proper security can be maintained. Everything inside the perimeter fence will belong to the refinery solely and will be on each refinery’s asset register.”
The government said as part of their new independence, each of the refineries would be given commercial autonomy, meaning that they would be free to take crude oil from wherever they could get it. (Punchng.com)
The Presidency at the weekend, disclosed plans to convert illegal refineries to modular projects.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, in a statement said that the plans are part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s new vision for oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta.
According to him, modalities are now being worked out to explore how some of the illegal refiners and the local communities in the region can become shareholders in the proposed modular refineries concept of the Federal Government.
A modular refinery is a refinery made up of smaller and mobile parts- (skid-mounted)- that are more easily fabricated and can be more quickly transported to site. They come in different sizes with varying capacities normally lower capacity than conventional refineries with more elaborate and complicated set-up.
Under the plan being considered in the presidency, government could supply crude to the local refineries at a reasonably concessioned price, as an incentive to stop the current practice where illegal refiners vandalise and steal the crude. The concept would also prevent the environmental degradation of their area.
This also means that marginal field operators can supply crude to the new modular refineries that would have the illegal refiners integrated.
“The consideration going on now is sequel to the promises made by the Federal Government during the presidential interactive engagements in several oil-producing states by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to integrate the illegal refiners, rather than a scorched-earth policy that seeks to eliminate the operations of such refiners”, the statement read.
Some of hurdles to be crossed are especially issues around the engineering and technical ramifications of such a conversion as well as financial models that would be workable and profitable.
According to the statement, specific consideration on how to integrate local “illegal” refiners in the oil-producing communities into the Federal Government’s proposed modular refinery concept is now in progress with the Presidency and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Agency (NSIA), spear-heading efforts.
Recall that the issues around technical and engineering implications of how to integrate the refiners were discussed last week with industry experts and practitioners making presentations on how to implement the modular refinery scheme, a brainchild of Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.
The experts are working closely with the NNPC, Oil and Gas operators, owners of marginal fields; operators of refineries and various technical services providers to develop a workable system to develop this initiative. (The Sun)
It is indeed pathetic to hear from the mouths of many Nigerians about their ownership of lands and cities irrespective of the fact that we sometimes claim that this country is one and for all. They do this at their own convenience and whenever they wish to. The convenience though based on tribal sentiments is very interesting and very nauseating, to say the least. The Yorubas always remind other citizens of their ownership to Lagos and the Hausas and Fulanis on Kano, but oil from Niger-Delta or region of old kingdom of Biafra is for all Nigerians. Those from that region have no right to it but it belongs to all Nigerians. Almost all the oil blocks belong to mostly Hausas and Fulanis from the North and to the Yorubas from South West. The people of Biafra can not lay claim to either Lagos or Kano. They are indeed strangers in those states, though the resources from their neglected region are immensely exploited to develop those two big states including Abuja and many others.
The resources from oil from the Biafran region, pays the salaries of all workers in Nigeria since 96 % of the federal government income comes from the oil. This statistically means that salaries of workers starting from local governments to state governors and the federal ministries, including the president, come from oil from the Biafran region. If they dare to lay claim to the oil then, they must be annihilated. The oil is for all and not for the Biafrans alone. Every propaganda possible have been used to keep them divided to deter them from laying complete claim to the oil in their region. I have even heard some deluded Northern politicians speak how the oil in the Biafran region belongs to them. A claim that was indeed preposterous but applauded by those from the north who were in the conference room where he made such speech.
Civil war propaganda and the hangover effects
Politically, the Igbo people, who are the majority from that region must be ostracized in order to weaken their position. Their kith and kin have been told via the vicious propaganda during the civil war that they are not Igbo, though they have Igbo names and speak it though with dialects, just like every other Igbo in the entire Igboland. They were also killed as much as other Igbo e.g Asaba massacre and others in Ika areas. They also have strong and proven historical connections to their Igbo ancestry. So, many Igbo names of places in those parts are modified after the civil war to deter them from appearing Igbo in writings and in their pronunciations. Perhaps this was one of the reasons the military government stopped teaching of history nationwide in our schools. The plan was perhaps to annihilate the sense of history, thereby making it hard for newer generation to know their history or ancestral background.
The propaganda worked then and it still has its after effect till this date. When you listen to some of the arguments from some folks from the North or South West, who try so hard to realign the landscape and history of Igboland. They tend to know more the history of the Igbo people or the entire Biafra land more than the Igbo or Biafrans themselves. Those are the hangover from the civil war propaganda, simply employed to dissuade other Igbo, who have more oil in their lands to refuse their Igbo ancestry. Even Ibo was created to make it look different from the correct spelling of Igbo. Some have argued that they are Ibo and not Igbo. As preposterous as it may look and sound, some thrust that up during arguments against their Igbo ancestry. Some attached the name of the part of Igboland where they live to the Igbo, e.g Ika-Ibo. This almost make it look like Ika is an ethnic group of her own. I recently heard a guy, whose best part have been taken by the wartime propaganda say that he doesn’t speak Igbo but Agbor and his mother speaks Umunede. Funny, what can I say. Dialects spoken in some of these towns are now made ethnic language of their own. Though you may look at these arguments as funny and baseless, you must not ignore the tool employed to create these confusion.
The more they use this to dissuade these Igbo people from recognizing their Igbo-ness the better for their access to their oil. Another tool employed to make Igbo people appear small or as minority was caving out several chunks of their kith and kin into other states regarded as non-Igbo. Through this means the oil in the region of the Igboland are carved into other non-Igbo states. This also makes it possible for these people to forget their Igbo ancestry with time. For example, there are over a million Igbo people or citizens carved into Benue state. Oil wells from those states seen as Igboland, are carved out and put into other states regarded as non-Igbo states. A good example of this is the carving of Izombe, a major oil producing town of the old Imo state, into Rivers state. There are numerous other major examples to this. But when it comes to siting federal government projects, these same states taken as non-Igbo states are then exempted and reversely taken as Igbo land.
Recently, an excerpt of a telephone conversation between one Kunle, and one Alhaji went viral on social media. It was a very interesting piece of telephone conversation to listen to. There, in the telephone conversation, the Alhaji was fillled with much vile enough to wipe a generation. He talked as if they’ve enough plan already to wipe out the entire South East and South South. Though he may have some justified reasons judging from the steps taken so far by the present federal government administration towards businesses owned by Igbos. Though, that piece of conversation could be neglected, but it showcases the sort of vitriol that is embedded in some folks towards that very region, Biafra.
In the telephone conversation, the Alhaji laid out their plans to stop Igbo people’s business domination, as if Igbos at some point in history had some sort of advantage and used it to establish themselves in businesses. Now, that advantage must be destroyed and their domination of businesses must be vehemently trashed. This is the same people who have never enjoyed presidency of this country or held strong positions in government until the recent previous government of President Goodluck Jonathan. Though it was funny to hear the Alhaji speak about South East and South South as one entity and referred to Goodluck Jonathan as Igbo people’s government. But the same when argument about oil or Biafra arises, will do everything to separate the Igbo from the rest in the larger Igbo land and the entire Biafra. This is why I call their stand argument of convenience.
Igbos and the national economy
Looking at national statistics, it is very clear that the Igbo citizens control a sizeable chunk of the national economy and contribute immensely to the national gross domestic product (GDP). That is almost agreed by all within the shores of Nigeria. Though some few, who harbour tribal sentiments would wave it off as nonsense. They have not historically played much role in successive governments, for strong reasons I will not try to detail here. They do not owe oil blocks or wells but have struggled on their various capacity to grow from nothing after the civil war that utterly destroyed their region. So, where does the fear of Igbo people and oil come from, since they have succeeded economically without recourse to oil? Though, it may be argued that since they come from the oil producing region, they should control or dominate the oil business. But that is not the case. It is perhaps the internal arm twisting tactics of the successive governments to debar them from owing oil blocks. Every thing was thrown at them and even laws were made under the leadership of Gen. Yakubu Gowon, after the war to stop them from gaining positions in federal ministerial jobs.
This created the culture of Igbos not being conspicuous in federal ministries across the country for decades after the war ended. This also was perhaps why there is no federal government secretariat in the entire South East. Anyway, the Igbo people judging from their historical nature, love education and trade or business and industry. They love being independent and growing their own financial status even from the scratch to the level their ability and sheer hard work could elevate them to. Their penchant towards business and industry is well documented throughout their history. So, why is the federal government so hard bent on the campaign against the Igbo people because of oil in their region? So, it is rational to say that any attempt to destroy the economic status of the large Igbo population, would amount to the destruction of the entire national economy itself. It may sound odd but from statistical perceptive, it is simply correct.
(Ike A. Offor (IkeA.Offor@yahoo.com) (www.twitter.com/@OfforIke)
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