From Ben Dunno, Warri
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has expressed optimism in the viability of the petroleum industry to sustain the economy, stressing that the Nigerian oil and gas park under construction at Odukpani in Cross River State, will be completed by December this year.
The park, according to the Minister would create an environment for low-cost manufacturing that would produce equipment components and spare parts that will be used in the petroluem industry.
The minister made this disclosure this at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun, Delta State, on the occasion of the 22nd graduation ceremony of the institute which also marked the grand finale of the golden jubilee anniversary of the institution.
The minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, said, “the completion of this project will benefit the national economy because it will help reduce the demand for foreign exchange for importation of equipment. It will also provide employment oppourtunities for graduands of the institute.”
The Minister further disclosed that the output from Nigeria’s Liquefied Natural Gas would soon be boosted with the signing of ‘the Train 7 contract’ which, according to him, “will bring about employment and development for Nigerians as 55 percent of the engineering activities will be carried out in Nigeria, 55 percent of all procurements will be done by competent Nigerian vendors and 100 percent of the installations and construction will be executed in Nigeria.
“The $7 billion project will support the Federal Government’s drive to generate more revenue from Nigeria’s confirmed gas reserves of about 207 trillion cubic feet and this will further reduce gas flaring in the industry,” the minister stated.
Sylva listed other efforts by the Federal Government at further boosting the industry as including “coordinating with international partners to promote Nigeria’s petroleum sector, push for the establishment of an African Energy Bank, increasing the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund to $350 million, etc.”
He spoke further, “Currently, this administration is making concerted efforts to curtail the issue of crude oil theft which has reduced the government’s revenue and foreign exchange income. Oil theft has denied the country of estimated 700,000 barrels per day.
“The adverse effect of this is the drop in the production of crude oil. Despite this setback, the government is not deterred on meeting with the country’s OPEC quota. These criminal activities are not taking place in oblivion.”