The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Monday said that the Federal Government was committed to ensuring that at least three modular refineries become operational as from next year.
Kachikwu, who gave this hint at the 18th Biennial International Conference for Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) in Lagos, noted that the take-off the refineries would improve the local refining capacity for petroleum products, reduce import bills on refined products and by implication, translate to socio-economic gains for the country.
According to him, so far the Federal Government has issued licences to 40 investors, 10 of whom have invested heavily in the oil and gas sector with the attendant prospects for improved production of locally refined products on sustainable basis in the years ahead.
He clarified: “Out of the 40 licenses issued, only 10 have shown progress by submitting their programmes and putting something on the ground. By end of 2019, we are assured that three private modular refineries would come on stream.”
Earlier in his remarks at the forum, Director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Modeccai Ladan, disclosed that some of the big International Oil Companies (IOCs) were funding researches into alternative fuels, which include the use of cheap, common algae.
He lamented that as sweet as Nigeria’s crudes remained renowned globally, the country had lost most of her valued customers even as her gas buyers were now competing with it in the same market space as suppliers.
Ladan explained that the ugly development at the international market demanded that the country should commit more of its efforts to meeting local refined products demand and reduce importation to barest minimum.