Increased Oil Production To End Nigeria’s Fuel Crisis- Minister


The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, has said that the easiest way to end the fuel crisis in Nigeria is to increase crude oil production.

He says if conscious efforts are not made towards this, both the downstream and the midstream will fail.

Lokpobiri said these while responding to questions from State House correspondents at the end of the three-day retreat held at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja.

The Minister further stated that the federal government is working tirelessly to ramp up crude oil production to 2 million bpd by December.

He emphasised that Nigeria must produce the crude to refine before distribution.

“But our problem right now, which we inherited, is the low level of production, which was a result of insecurity issues, a lack of investments, and all other concerns. But we are addressing all those issues, and I believe that in the next few months, we will be able to come up with a different report.

“But we have addressed the issue of insecurity; we have rekindled the confidence of international oil companies to come back and begin to reinvest. We are addressing some of the issues they have raised with us, which have to do with both fiscal and regulatory, and so on.

“So I believe that as a ministry, we have set some very ambitious numbers for ourselves that, before the end of the year, we should be doing at least close to 2 million barrels per day,” Lokpobiri stated.

The Minister also emphasised that he has liberalised the process of acquiring a licence to establish, approval to construct, and a licence to operate.

“What I have done is to also liberalise the process to acquire licenses. Before I came they said sometimes it takes so long to acquire licenses, so I said I don’t want to know your face provided the requirements are met, bring them to me. I will sign within 24 hours, and I have signed them. 

“I have also said I don’t want to give people licences, and they use it as souvenirs. If you are given a licence, you must use it within the terms, or else I will cancel it. Just like I didn’t know you before signing the licence, I will also cancel without blinking an eye.

“We have a lot of modular refineries that we have given licences to, but the challenge has been the feedstock. Even if you have the modular refinery, do you have the crude to be able to refine it? He added.

He assured that the rehabilitation of Phase 1 of the Warri refinery will be concluded by the end of 2023, while Phases 2 and 3 at the Port Harcourt refinery will be ready by 2024.

Lokpobiri further restated that the whole of the Kaduna refinery will be back in use by the end of next year.

The Minister affirmed that he secured these assurances from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).

He added that he will hold the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) accountable for the dates scheduled for the completion of the rehabilitation of the country’s refineries.

According to Lokpobiri, “Yes, the rehabilitation of the refineries, if you could remember, was started by the previous administration, and as part of the President’s directive, I have gone around all the refineries, and from what they have briefed me, Port Harcourt has 3 phases, so Phase 1 will be ready by the end of this year. I am not the one who is directly in charge of rehabilitation; it is the NNPCL, and they have told me, and I am holding them accountable.

“For Warri refinery, they said Phase 1 will be ready by the end of the year. Phases 2 and 3 in Port Harcourt will be ready next year, and the whole Kaduna refinery will be ready by the end of next year. That is what they said, and I am holding them accountable for their own words.

“I will be going there in the next few weeks; I go there regularly and sometimes without a schedule so that nobody plans for me. I just appear to see what is going on. 

“I believe that those refineries if we can achieve some level of rehabilitation by the end of this year, will also improve our domestic refining capacity. But that is not even the problem; the Dangote refinery is coming.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) is saddled with the responsibility of rehabilitating three refineries in the country to reduce fuel scarcity and increase dependence on natural gas.