Deregulation has Opened Innovation, Self Sufficiency’s Opportunities -Ekpo

The Nigerian Government has described the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry as opening up opportunities for innovation and self-sufficiency in petroleum products refining.

Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo stated this in Lagos on Monday in an address at the 41st Annual Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) with the theme: “Repositioning the Oil and Gas Industry for Future Energy Dynamics.”

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Ekpo who represented President Bola Tinubu at the event said the energy landscape globally and in Nigeria is undergoing significant transformation and that reforms such as the Petroleum Industry Act of 2021, Electricity Act of 2023, and the courageous step taken by the  administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to uphold the deregulation of the downstream sector, signal a firm commitment to overhauling the Nigerian energy sector.

He said: “The deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry, in line with the provision of the PIA 2021, has undoubtedly presented challenges, yet it has also opened up opportunities for innovation and self-sufficiency.Members of NAPE, who are at the forefront of hydrocarbon extraction, play a crucial role in reducing our dependence on imported refined petroleum products and providing the necessary feedstock for modular refineries to meet domestic needs.”

Ekpo also assured that in line with the vision of President Tinubu, the country was on a steadfast march to grow oil production to 2.1 million barrels per day, with a significant increase in associated gas by December 2024.

“This ambitious goal is underpinned by the expansion of midstream and downstream oil and gas infrastructure and the construction of energy systems that are not only resilient, but also affordable to the Nigerian populace,” said Ekpo.

“The recent consultations with various stakeholders and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) have been enlightening and productive. They have projected an estimated $13.5 billion investment requirement in the upstream oil and gas space over the next 12 months to drive this upstream space strategically to meet our aspired objectives for the upstream space. This is a testament to the confidence in our market and the expected return on investment.

“Through such investments by 2030, we anticipate the realization of $55.2 billion from operators within Nigeria, marking a significant economic boost for our nation
“Mr. President fully understands the indispensable role of Energy in the macro and micro facets of our economy and, as such, has mandated continuous engagement with stakeholders and the creation of policies and programs to support our collective objective, Ekpo added.

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