Deregulate petroleum sector now, Obaseki urges FG

The former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Dr Jackson Gaius-Obaseki, has advised the Federal Government to consider full deregulation of the value chains of the nation’s petroleum sector.

Gauis-Obaseki, who is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Brass Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited, gave the advice at the 11th Oil Trading and Logistics Expo in Lagos on Monday.

The theme of the conference was “Downstream- Renewed Opportunities’’.

He said it was high time Nigeria embraced deregulation in full fledge.

According to him, Nigeria can no longer afford to stifle growth of the oil sector through regulation which should be opened up for players to play active part therein.

He also said Nigeria should be wary of politicians’ unbridled meddling in the affairs of the sector, adding that the nation’s petroleum sector should be treated strictly as business.

“I remember in 2012 when we first removed subsidy, the country was locked down for three days. But I’m happy today that the country has succeeded in removing subsidy in diesel and partially in petrol.

“I never imagined that subsidy removal will happen in this country but it has started,’’ he said.

Also, the Deputy Minister of Energy in Ghana, Dr Mohammed Adam, said his country had deregulated its downstream sector of the petroleum sector, adding that the prices of petroleum sector were determined by demand and supply.

He urged Nigeria to lead the way in turning around the petroleum sector in West Africa because of its stature.

Mr Joseph Akinlaja, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), wondered why only few out of the 18 operators granted refineries licences by the Federal Government were making headway.

Akinlaja said that the government should consider giving more investors opportunities to invest in refineries, to boost in-country refining and opening up the economy for better prospects.

He, however, assured that the lawmakers in the country would play a pre-eminent role in ensuring that the petroleum sector added value to the country through proactive legislation.

He promised that the House would soon pass the Petroleum Industry Bill to spur growth in the nation’s oil and gas sector.

Mr Reginald Stanley, the former Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), said the country was faced with refineries’ challenges.

According to Stanley, this is because a lot of money goes into building refinery.

He appealed to the government to assist refinery investors by granting them loan facilities.

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