Reps Downstream C’ttee pledges legislative support for seamless refineries’ operations

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The House of Representatives has assured of legislative actions and interventions that will ensure seamless operations of refineries in the country.

Nigeria has four refineries located in Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna, but none is yet operational. Dangote Refinery was commissioned earlier in the year, the facility is about to commence operations just as the Port Harcourt refinery is set to resume operations.

The chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources Downstream, who oversees downstream activities from petroleum products refining/production to distribution and marketing to end users, Hon. Ikenga Ugochinyere Ikeagwuonu, gave the assurance on Friday while playing host separately to a consortium of British energy investors and officials of the Africa Oil Week based in South Africa, in his office at the National Assembly, Abuja.

At the meeting, the investors sought legislative support and pro-business legal framework to help strengthen and promote more participation in the downstream sector, enabling environment to guarantee return on their expected availability of petroleum products to investments which will in turn ensure energy security for Nigeria.

Addressing the delegation, Ugochinyere sought for more support for sustainable revamping of the refineries and downstream petroleum sector infrastructure as key to the success of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s economic reforms and guarantee for energy security.

Ugochinyere praised the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, for his legislative agenda which he said is downstream petroleum resources friendly, saying that his committee was tracking and monitoring activities of licensed operators in the downstream sector including refinery operators and willing to give any needed support to ensure seamless operations in the sector.

He lamented that decades after the discovery of crude oil in Nigeria, the Nigerian downstream sector was still evolving and yet to reach its full potential.

The lawmaker said that a working refinery and more investment in the downstream petroleum sector will help revolutionaries nigeria economy, create jobs, and stabilise FX, adding that the parliament was focused on ensuring a competitive and productive downstream industry.

He said: “The oil and gas industry is divided into three major sectors: upstream, midstream and downstream. The downstream sector is the refining of petroleum crude oil and the processing and purifying of raw natural gas, as well as the marketing and distribution of products derived from crude oil and natural gas.

“The downstream sector reaches consumers through products such as gasoline or petrol, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel oil, heating oil, fuel oils, lubricants, waxes, asphalt, natural gas, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as well as naphtha and hundreds of petrochemicals.

“Almost 70 years after the discovery of crude oil in Nigeria, the Nigerian downstream sector is still evolving and yet to reach its full potential. Ranked as one of the largest crude oil producer in the world with an average daily output of about two million barrels per day, one would expect that the downstream sector would be abuzz with significant investments and activities.

“However, this is not the case. The sector is currently bogged down with numerous challenges, such as inappropriate product pricing, bridging product supply, insecurity, irregular gas supply, pipeline vandalism, inadequate pipeline infrastructure, non-functional/under functioning refineries and so on.

“Our Committee is focused on ensuring a competitive busy downstream, safe petroleum products and efficient products distribution, amendments of existing laws and new legislation to guarantee investment and returns.”