Nigeria's oil and gas industry has been a major source of income for the country but has had very little impact on the citizens' welfare in the past. As a result, expanding the sector's value chain was a major discussion point at the recently concluded Bayelsa State Investment & Economic Forum held in Yenagoa, the state’s capital.
“What I think brings oil and gas into the real economy and makes it understandable and touchable by the extent of the polity in this country is the fact that we are trying to now commercialise our sector,” Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum, Dieziani Allison- Madueke told CNBC Africa.
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Nigeria’s gas-to-power sector has been identified as a very serious part of the ongoing power sector reforms and aims to commercialise the sector by bringing a very capital intensive sector to the reach of the ordinary Nigerian.
“First of all, we had a major move with our first pilot project, our gas to industry at Ogedengbe in Delta State which we will like to replicate in places like Delta.”
According to the minister, the sector is currently putting forward an industrial plan with petrochemical plants, ethanol plants, with central processing facilities, with LPG facilities, in a bid to begin to create wealth for the polity of Nigeria and create jobs for citizens who are not in the world of upstream oil and gas.
“Over the last three and a half years, we have touched the lives of a wide spectrum of Nigerians by ensuring that indigenes of this country have first refusal in terms of the downstream service sector in oil and gas.”
“For the first time, we have small scale service parts for the oil and gas industry being produced here but more than that, Nigerians who had no knowledge of oil and gas are coming into the supply sectors of our industry,” she explained.
Nonetheless, transportation of oil products across the country has continued to be a challenge as many commuters in Lagos state, the country’s economic capital and most populated city, suffer terrible traffic gridlocks along the road caused by petroleum tankers waiting to load fuel.
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“The issue of transportation of petroleum products was taken care of a long time ago. We have a myriad of products and petroleum all over the country. They are already on ground and under normal circumstances, you should not see trailers and tankers moving petroleum products or crude along our roads at any point in time.”
Unfortunately, due to the surge in vandalism and bunkering of crude products that the country has experienced over the last four years, many of the pipeline products have been put out of commission.