A strong call has gone to the Federal Government to hands off all the refineries to the private sector.
The call came from gas, refining, and petrochemicals experts who operate under an institute at the University of Port (UNIPORT) Harcourt.
Nigeria had once sold off the refineries but public pressure led by Labour forced the FG to re-acquire them, but they have remained comatose all this while.
The call came at the just-concluded 6th international conference organised by the Centre for Gas, Refining, and Petrochemicals (CGRP) of the University of Port Harcourt( UNIPORT) which made critical recommendations for the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
The communiqué, which made 19-point recommendations, urged the FG to divest some of its ownership of the commercial refineries in Nigeria for a sustainable operation of the oil and gas industry.
The group recommended 49 percent equity to the FG and 51 percent to the private sector, at least in line with the NLNG model, saying this will ensure sustainability.
“All efforts should be expedited to ensure the optimal performance of all commercial refineries in Nigeria. These refineries can be upgraded with new technologies to increase capacity of production and quality of products.
“There is need to ensure the standardisation of products of gas, refining and petrochemicals in Nigeria especially the modular refineries to ensure sustainability.
“More efforts should be targeted towards arresting the menace of crude oil pipeline vandalism, gas flaring and ensure turn-around maintenance of the commercial refineries in Nigeria as and when due.”
The communiqué, which was signed on behalf of organisers and participants by Owunari Abraham Georgewill (Vice-Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt); Anthony Ogbuigwe (Chairman, CGRP Board and chairman of the conference); Akuma Oji (Ag. Director, CGRP), and professor, Ayoade Kuye (chairman, Central Planning Committee), stated that the FG should make deliberate efforts to develop local solutions to the challenges of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
“Government must make deliberate policy to encourage the design and fabrication of oil and gas equipment in Nigeria. This is important because of its impact on the economy, job creation opportunities, as well as optimal and sustainable operation of the oil and gas industry,” it said.
The communiqué further stated that the Federal Government should initiate policies that would insist that at least 60 percent of equipment being used should be manufactured in Nigeria. Timelines to this also should be set.
“Efforts should be made at increasing the consumption of fertilizer in Nigeria
Efforts at digitising the operation and management of the oil and gas industry should be explored to drive the change in the downstream sector.
“Nigeria like other African countries must pay adequate attention to targeted and sustainable financing of the downstream sector and the agricultural sector and policies made towards its actualization.
“Government–private sector partnership in the mid and downstream sector can improve job creation, revenue generation, food security and national GDP.
“The Agricultural sector can be made more attractive in Nigeria with emphasis on using the right seeds, right fertilizers and applying fertilizer at the right time are essentials for getting optimal production in the industry.”
The experts said gas flaring penalties must be well priced to discourage this activity, and that government should ensure diligent application and execution of this policy.
“Utilisation of gas resources is essential to discourage wastage. Gas-to-power, gas-to-fertilizer, gas-to-energy and gas-to- liquids are viable options.
“Investment in Hydrogen gas generation and utilisation in Nigeria must be explored.
“Efforts must be geared at improving the collaboration between the government, academia, industry and professional bodies as this is key to a sustainable oil and gas industry and the agricultural sector.”
The communiqué wants industry and community harmony to be strengthened as an incentive to cross-community cooperation and development.
“Home grown technologies and collaborations with other African countries is key to attaining sustainability in the oil and gas industry.”
The conference theme was “Innovations for Sustainable Optimal Operations of Existing Oil and Gas Assets in Nigeria.”
It was organised by CGRP in collaboration with the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE) and Africa Centre of Excellence in Oilfield Chemicals Research (ACE-CEFOR).