Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Nigeria’s chances of deriving maximum benefits from her petroleum industry are increasingly contracting on the back of global energy trends, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, has declared.
Osibanjo, who spoke at the presentation of three books authored by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, explained that trends in the global energy industry have shown that Nigeria cannot take as many benefits as it used to from her oil and gas industry.
He however stated that despite the dwindling chances of optimal benefits, the country still needs the oil sector in its quest to diversify her economy from oil.
“As we move to diversify our economy, we are acutely aware that we need oil to get out of oil. Yet, our window of opportunity to benefit maximally from the petroleum industry is narrowing,” said Osibanjo at the book launch on Monday in Abuja.
He further explained: “The development of shale oil, which the author spends considerable time on, the increasing breakthrough in renewable energy use, the incredible speed of the expansion of the use of electric vehicles – Japan now has more electric charging stations than gas stations, all point inexorably that the party might be over sooner than we expected.”
The Vice President also stated that to ensure that the country derives the maximum benefits from the petroleum sector in spite of the global challenges, the federal government has had to deal head-on with critical issues bedevilling the sector.
Such issue he explained included the deregulation of the downstream sector and its continuing challenges.
Other issues according to him are vandalism of pipelines and export facilities and the critical drop in production, gas-to-power issue, the urgent imperatives of local refining, cash call problems and the plans to exit that regime and empowering indigenous operators.