..Urges removal of Petroleum Minister as NNPC board chairman
Yemie Adeoye 16 September 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, NAPE, has advised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal Government to take advantage of the abysmally low crude oil prices and increase exploration activities in the country.
The association also urged the government to intensify the ongoing reforms at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and to ensure that the Minister of Petroleum Resources ceases to be the Chairman of the NNPC board.
President of the NAPE, Mr Chikwendu Edozien disclosed these during a media parley on the forthcoming annual NAPE international conference In Lagos.
Specifically, the association wants the federal government to encourage exploration activities in the country during the period of low crude oil prices as the low prices has brought about a lull in exploratory activities which has in turn brought about low activities for oil rigs and other exploration equipments.
“The cost of hiring equipments have gone down because no one is hiring those rigs and equipment due to low oil prices and the glut in the global oil sector.
“Now, we must understand that the crude oil price may not bounce back immediately, and exploratory activities are also time consuming. If we use the opportunity of low equipment prices to hire these equipments now and commence exploration activities, thereby bringing life back into the sector, it will take another 4 to 5 years to probably be ready for first oil, and by that time It is very possible that crude oil prices would have bounced back,” he said.
Edozien stated that the Minister of Petroleum Resources remaining NNPC board chairman would make nonsense of the serious-minded reforms currently ongoing in the corporation as NNPC needs to be distanced from politics if it must become commercially viable.
He noted that the Minister of Finance is not the chairman of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN board, and that this has allowed the CBN function professionally without undue political interference.
This is what should be done at the NNPC, he said.