Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said that Nigeria plans to target Africa as a main market for its crude oil and natural gas.
He said this became imperative given the fact that demands from most American and European crude oil buyers are on the decline, which makes alternative markets necessary.
Speaking in Abuja on Wednesday at the 2017 edition of the Sustainability in the Extractive Industries (SITEI) conference, Kachikwu said the country’s oil firms must develop the capacity to compete in the continent as leaders in oil business.
“These are the things that our country and Angola need to fashion out to stabilize supplies. It would be perused over the next few years, as OPEC’s struggles to capture its market would become very critical,” he said.
Kachikwu explained that government was weaving a relationship that would enable it to look at the African market due to the competitive nature of the environment.
He said it was difficult to capture America and Europe as their demand base is fast declining, adding that the only countries that are available are Africa and Asia.
The minister stressed that the country’s challenge is how to ensure that every drop of oil or gas that comes into Africa must be from Nigeria.
On infrastructure development, Kachikwu stated, “We are in a phase of development where the issue of infrastructure framework has become critical.
“Our downstream infrastructure deficit alone requires that we invest around $10billion in the next three decades.
“We can never be an economic powerhouse without a vibrant local economy and defined industrial base.
“A nation without a solid manufacturing base would slide to dependency and waste of resources,” he said.
Kacikwu explained that Nigeria must also ensure that there is a drastic reduction in the costs of production to about $15 per barrel, which could be achieved through cost reduction initiatives, in conjunction with the implementation of the new National Fiscal Policy.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, confirmed that Nigerian oil production has hit 2.2 million per day with a plan to increase it to 2.5million in the next few years.
Baru insisted that resumption of exploration in the Benue Chad Basin would continue as it is aimed at increasing Nigeria’s oil production.
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