Investment in the oil and gas sector hitting $60 billion, away from zero investment in 2016 is the dividend of a lot of hard work and commitment towards revitalizing Nigeria’s downstream sector.
Minister of state for Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu while making the assertion in Emeyal 1, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa state for the ground-breaking ceremony for the 25-hectare Nigeria Oil and Gas Park Scheme (NOGAPS), initiated by the Nigeria Content Development Board (NCDMB) also revealed that the relative peace in the Niger Delta has helped shore up production by more than 100 percent.
“We have found the peace to go back to oil production from a very all-time low number of about 800,000 barrels to today in excess of 2,000, 000 and still striving to go upward. Because of the ingenious financing concept we put in place, the oil industry has taken a big and new leap,” he said.
Watchers of the nation’s downstream sector had hitherto blamed the minister for a lack of foresight in garnering appropriate investments in the sector especially with the latest rising crude price in the international market.
But the minister accused the critics of shortsightedness saying before 2016, the investment in the sector had ebbed to zero and oil companies were basically operating reflex production.
“Over the next 2-4 years, projects like Egina, Zabazaba, projects like Bonga South, Nigeria LNG 2 to Nigeria LNG 7, we are about to see investment in excess of 60 billion dollars in the industry. Realise that before these, before 2016, the investment in the sector had ebbed to zero. And oil companies were basically operating reflex production.
“There is a massive investment in the oil sector now. With those investments will come jobs, with those jobs will come peace and without peace, no development. A lot is going on and a lot still needs to happen; major policy changes and major regulatory changes in the works”, he said.
On the new oil park being constructed, the minister lent words of advice to governors in the region urging collaboration amongst the South South states to develop the region to the point where they have economic independence from the centre.
“There is no change without the kind of change which I envisage where the committee of South South governors will sit down and see how to develop the South South to the point where they have economic independence from the centre.
“Which means that cross-border developments, cross-border roads , cross-border specialisation areas in health , finance , education and the rest can be done,’ he said.