Says FG will intensify oil quest in Lake Chad Basin
The Minister of State for Petroleum resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said the federal government has set a timeline of 2017 as a period of zero militancy and drastic reduction of violence in the Niger Delta.
The minister spoke at a press conference held in the Presidential Villa after the launch of the Oil and Gas Industry Roadmap tagged ‘The 7 Big Wins’ by President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa.
Kachikwu also hinted that the government would intensify quest for oil in commercial quantities in the Lake Chad basin by encouraging private sector to invest in the sector.
He said “We are targeting to raise $5 billion in short term funds for this and over $20 billion in medium to long term funds.”
He said the Buhari administration would ensure maximum security in the Niger Delta by engaging stakeholders from that region.
He disclosed that the president would next Tuesday engage stakeholders from oil producing areas in Abuja.
Kachikwu said: “Niger Delta security is key. On Tuesday the president will be meeting with the NIger Delta stakeholders of oil producing areas. It is important that we continue to sustain the institutional engagement and negotiations that are key to do this work.
“Our target is to have an incident reduction by 90 per cent by 2018 and to target zero militancy and shut down by middle of 2017.
“Whatever shutdown experienced by the middle of next year we expect it to be production slippages and not militancy issues. We must resolve current militancy problems and bring back production to 2.2million barrels per day.
“We are currently at 1.8million. We will like to begin the year once Exxon Mobil brings back their production this week with 2.2million barrels per day.
“But the reality is that 2.2million barrels do not represent at all the capacity of this nation. We have the capacity to increase to 3million barrels per day, the problem has been funding.
“We are working with the oil sector players to begin to find solutions to our cash call problems. We need to create stability incentive schemes, jobs and investment opportunities in the Niger Delta zone.
“We need to look at the security and incentives for states government to begin to look at and we need to set up a robust security apparatus involving the oil companies and security agencies to ensure that there is stability in this region.
“Above all, transparency and efficiency is key and we know the president’s mantra in this is zero tolerance for corruption. We have to install transparency process in the oil and gas industry.”
The minister added that the government would enthrone transparency in the oil and gas sector thereby cut production cost by 30 per cent.
“We are introducing a joint account with oil companies so that everybody understands the monies that are coming in. We are targeting 30 per cent cost savings in which we can link to transparency,” he said.
Kachikwu added: ‘Stakeholders’ management is also a key area. We are going to be working with all those and increase communications and structures across the agencies in the ministry of communication. For a country that has lost so much in recent years, it is an opportunity to review, retool and revive our oil and gas industry and our nation as whole.
“Already we have signed MOUs close to $80billion in China and we are in the process of finalising $15billion worth of crude with India. There is a Gulf roadshow in January and an American road show by the middle of next year. So we have been able to open up our frontiers with solid spectres of investments to finance infrastructure.”