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60% drop in fuel import coming in 2018 –FG

The Federal Government has announced plans to reduce its level of fuel imports by 60 percent by the year 2018.

This was revealed by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, at the ongoing Oil Trading Logistics (OTL) conference in Lagos, yesterday.

Kachikwu, who was represented by the Senior Technical Adviser on Upstream and Gas, Mr. Gbite Adeniji, said one of the key priority areas in the road map for the oil industry is increased local refineries’ production capacity through the implementation of modular refineries and co-location, which targets to ensure that petroleum products importation is reduced by at least 60 per cent by 2018, and thereafter position Nigeria for net export by 2019.

The Minister said “Perhaps, the most important part of reforms in the midstream and downstream sub-sectors is in creating a profitable products-to-market system for Nigeria and removing hindrances and bottlenecks through incentives and regulatory frameworks”.

He maintained that the current state of the country’s supply and distribution systems is marked by poor storage facilities, inadequate supply, pipeline vandalism, poor products management and accountability.

But to correct the imbalance, he said the country needs to build refineries and run them as profit centres that will purchase crude at international prices and deliver their products at export parity prices adding that this is the only viable basis for financing new infrastructure.

Kachukwu canvassed a strong independent regulator to superintend activities in the sub-sector whose role would not be price-setting, but developing and enforcing open, fair and transparent rules in the downstream oil and gas sector.