23 November 2011, Sweetcrude, ABUJA—Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, says the repair of pipelines vandalised by Niger Delta militants as well as activities of illegal bunkerers would cost Nigeria $2 billion .
The minister who spoke when she appeared before the House Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) also disclosed that the ministry was working on a national gas policy that would eventually make gas the preferred energy of use at Nigerian homes.
She had earlier apologised to the committee for her inability to honour the invitation of the committee earlier, saying her inability to appear was not out of disrespect for the parliament.
She said: “I do take my job seriously and I don’t make unnecessary trips. The function that I attended in Calabar was the first of its kind in Nigeria. I was there to commission a gas plant of an indigenous company, Oando, and that project is very important to us. However, we appreciate the importance of honouring invitations of parliament.”
According to the Minister, in order to achieve the planned popularization of the usage of gas, the ministry is working hard to ensure that the country attains zero gas flaring, saying “that government has succeeded in reducing gas flaring from 63 per cent to 21 per cent in the last few months.”
“The various initiatives of the government and other stakeholders to boost LPG consumption in Nigeria are yielding steady progress. In 2010, 153 various categories of LPG licences were granted as against 59 granted in 2008, representing 159% increase in licensed LPG operations nationwide.
“Approved LPG auto gas applications are also on the increase with a view to making LPG a fuel of choice for vehicles in the event of total deregulation where it will be compete favourably with PMS (currently subsidized) and AGO. Local and international investors are showing keen interest in this segment of the LPG business with its vast potential as a market driver” she said.
While giving a generally up beat assessment of the petroleum Industry, Mrs Allison-Maduekwe said the ministry has been contending with paucity of funds which has held back some of the programmes.
She said the country’s crude production has peaked the 2.4 million barrel per day mark addi8ng however that the nation intends to make gas more lucrative above crude oil in the next four years.
Earlier in his remarks, the chairman of the House committee on Petroleum (down stream)Hon. Ajibola Muriana expressed outrage at “continued excuses of the minister for not honoring our summons without cogent reasons.
“It would be recalled that last week alone we wrote two letter to you to come and brief us on the activities of your ministry, but we received different reasons , and Nigerians want to know what is happening in your ministry and how we can move this industry forward.
“We also want to state here that the executive and the legislature are not supposed to be at logger heads, we cant obstruct you and we don’t expect you to obstruct us, we must work for the betterment of the country.
“I want to say here that each time we issue summons you must endeavour to come, because we can not continue to allow anybody, no matter how highly placed to obstruct our duty. Let me also tell you that a summon is not discretional, it is a must, you must not begin to give reasons why you can not attend, you can not even begin to chose days when you will come and when you can not come.”
“ it is not proper that on the day you are supposed to come you send a letter that you are not coming for whatever reasons, because we want to address the annual budget of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, its subsidiaries and if we don’t know your budget we can not oversight the sector. We want to know how the oil sector can be better than what it is today and if you can not honour our invitation you have to tell us ahead of time”, he said.
The minister is also expected to brief the committee on the state of the refineries, the subsidy removal and other burning issues in the oil sector on a later date.