NMDRA demands more refining, petrochemicals investments


As NCDMB holds maiden midstream summit

Sopuruchi Onwuka

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority (NMDRA) is advocating greater investments in crude oil and gas processing in order to curb gross financial mismanagement domestic fuel supplies.

The development runs in parallel with activation of midstream industry summit conceived and hosted by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to spur revival of the nation’s hydrocarbon processing industry.

The NCDMB has remained a driving force in conditioning the domestic economy for investments in manufacturing. It has also partnered some indigenous companies on investments in crude oil refining and gas processing.

Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote

Besides, the board has established designated industrial parks that are strategically located close to oil and gas production sites to provide investment havens that lower the cost of operations.

Some of the beneficiaries of the NCDMB intervention in processing investments are indigenous upstream producers who paid official visit to the NDMRA.

The NMDRA which regulates activities in the refining, petrochemical and other industries in the midstream petroleum sector also oversees marketing and trading activities in the domestic oil and gas industry.

The Oracle Today reports that the midstream is a critical value segment in the petroleum industry chain. It creates value from crude oil and natural gas commodities and feeds a variety of products to the consumers through the market.

The absence of the midstream industry activities in the country has disconnected the upstream industry from the domestic market, depriving the country of the critical economic benefits and making it reliant on high cost importation as the only source of fuel supply.

With about 70 million liters of imported petrol consumed in the domestic market, fuel prices have remained a major trigger for inflation in the country as high cost of transportation and industrial fuel products cause production cost of overruns in the economy.

Authority Chief Executive of NMDRA, Engr Farouk Ahmed, who hosted the visiting members of the Indigenous Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG) to his office in Abuja, told the group the agency is looking for more refiners in to augment the few that are currently under project stages.

ACE, NMDRA, Engr Farouk Ahmed

The leader of the IPPG, Mr Abdulrasaq Isa, is a refinery investor and some members of the group also operate small scale fineries.

Engr Farouk Ahmed told them that more refineries coming up in the country would help stop importation of petroleum products, “save our foreign earnings, create jobs and add value to the economy.”  

In promising to help condition the local policy environment for improved investments and enhanced operations, Engr Farouk said the authority was drafting sic regulations that would bring about clarity, improve business processes and ease of doing business in the sector.

The regulations, he said, include gas pricing, environmental management plan, environmental remediation fund, decommissioning and abandonment, gas infrastructure fund and natural gas pipeline tariff.

He said a committee has been set up by the authority to review the provisions of the emerging regulations, mobilise stakeholders and engage extensively on the implementation of the regulations.