By Rotimi Ijikanmi, Abuja.
The Federal Government on Monday projected that by the first quarter of 2024, Nigeria will put an end to the importation of petroleum products into the country.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, made the projection in Abuja, at the “PMB Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023)”, organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
He said that by the first quarter of 2024 the rehabilitation of the Port-Harcourt refinery would be partly completed, while the 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) capacity Dangote Refinery would also be on stream.
Presenting the scorecard of his ministry, Sylva specifically said that the 60,000bpd capacity refinery within the Port-Harcourt Refinery Complex would be ready for production by Quarter One of 2024.
The minister added that the Dangote Refinery, the largest single-train refinery in the world with investment of over 25 billion U.S. dollars, would also be on stream before the end of 2023, in addition to several modular refineries projects in the country.
He, therefore, assured that with the combined production of the Port-Harcourt refinery, Dangote refinery and the modular refineries, Nigeria would end importation of petroleum products.
Sylva disclosed that to ensure local supply from oil production by private refineries, the Federal Government deliberately took 20-per-cent equity stake in the Dangote Refinery.
He also said that the Federal Government took 30-per-cent equity stake in each of the 5000bpd WalterSmith modular refinery in Ibigwe, Imo State and 10,000bpd Duport Modular Refinery in Edo State, among others.
He said that the government was currently addressing the challenge of access to crude oil facing the modular refineries.
The minister also reiterated the position of the Federal Government that oil subsidy regime was no longer sustainable.
According to him, the huge funds, being spent on oil subsidy, could be deployed to other development projects that would impact positively on many Nigerians.
Sylva added that the removal of oil subsidy would attract more investment into the petroleum sector as many entrepreneurs would be willing to invest in building refineries.