Following the successful conclusion of the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) last week, we finally got a one-on-one with the Minister of State for Petroleum, Engr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu this morning as part of our Public Enlightenment Documentary on the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, its Agencies and Departments.
We met the minister seated on a meeting table in his office at about 8:45 AM, like one who was running late to have a paper delivered to his boss, he was so engrossed in some paperwork set before him. He welcomed us and the crew got to setting up immediately as the minister had a meeting outside his offices in another hour.
The interview started and our anchor, Omotayo Omotosho, MFR started by asking about the just concluded Summit, its conception and goals. Next question was to address the issue of fuel queues across the nation. The Minister said there is something fundamentally wrong in the major National Oil Company (NNPC) being the one that supplies fuel to 180 Million Nigerians, describing it as a non-starter and dead on arrival.
The Minister noted that making prices go up internationally and keeping it down locally are two different things entirely and they don’t match. He regretted that when there was the incident of price increase, price modulation was not executed. He then further stated the need for private marketers to find enough incentives to go back into the market and do what they’re best placed to do, so that the NNPC can focus on its more important business of being able to produce in the upstream sector.
He assured us that Dangote is being given the necessary support and encouragement to push forward and speed up the completion of his refinery. He is of the opinion that once the policies are right and the pricing is right, there is going to be massive investments.
Shedding more light on the ‘7 Big Wins’, which the Minister mentioned became the ‘7 Must Wins’ at the just concluded NIPS, He emphasized the need to process crude as opposed to exporting the oil. Also to engage the host communities and make them feel a sense of belonging, describing it as the “Bible to go” where everyone (agencies and parastatals) takes its own snapshots and builds efficiency around it.
On Gas Revolution, He called for the right policies for Gas to stand on its own, stating that oil companies don’t have enough incentives to invest in processing gas and we lack the infrastructure to move them to areas where they are needed for Power, Agriculture, etc. He said, “produced gas is useless unless it is consumed”. He called for the need to privatize those aspects of the business, suggesting that we can have Pipeline Companies whose business models would revolve around building pipelines across Nigeria with hubs where necessary.
The oil industry needs to begin to move away from the typical business model of ‘Find oil – Take it – Send it Out’ to ‘Find oil – Process it – Find the market for it – begin to invent efficiency’. Engr. Kachikwu reiterated that the industry must be opened up and monopoly must be broken anywhere visible. He agrees that we need to move away from Oil as a Nation, but insists we must get it right in the process of moving away from it.
The Minister on Investor Confidence said, “Transparency is transparent, everyone should be able to see through it..”