Government targets export market for fuel by 2018
Notwithstanding the intrigues of fuel scarcity experienced in recent times, the Federal Government is optimistic that the country would be self-sufficient and even export refined petroleum products by 2018.
The government’s position may not be unconnected with the expectations that the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote refinery would be completed and commence operations in the next two years, amid moves to revive the existing refineries.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this during an interview session on Channels television yesterday, said the permanent solution to the fuel crisis is for the nation to improve its domestic crude refining.
Mohammed said the government has therefore set machineries in motion to ensure that the country stops fuel importation by 2018 and even export to other countries.
He decried the fuel scarcity and poor power supply crisis experienced recently, attributing it to the strike by of the organised labour and vandalism on the part of some unpatriotic elements.
The minister berated the incessant sabotage of gas pipelines, urging all stakeholders, including the media to join forces against the saboteurs.
“By 2018, we will not be importing a drop of any of the refined products. We are working to ensure that the old refineries are made to work and that new ones are established. So, I know that by 2018, we are going to become a net exporter of petroleum products,”
“Today NNPC is responsible for almost 80 per cent of imported products, but unfortunately, they don’t have the capacity to distribute, so it has to rely on many of the marketers for distribution and these are the areas causing the gridlock,” he said.
Stressing the need to upgrade the distribution infrastructure, he noted that pipeline vandalism also assailed the haulage system, which eventually distorted the distribution system.
On fuel subsidy, he said: “The government has said that with the low prices of crude today, there is no subsidy on the pump price and secondly that the government is looking at the template to eliminate rent seeking and corruption, so that when the price of crude goes up, we are still going to sell at the same level.
“The government is not concentrating on the issue of subsidy, rather it is more concerned about ridden the entire market of corruption and getting a market based price.”
On the obsolete refineries, he said: “We are looking at options of either selling or rehabilitating. But the end game is that by 2018, we will not be importing any drop of refined product.
“The aim of the government is to ensure that the old refineries are made to work and new ones are put in place, but by 2018, the country will become a net exporter of refined product. By the time the Dangote refinery is online, clearly the situation will improve seriously.”
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