16 March 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, on Tuesday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a ‘State of Emergency’ in the petroleum industry to end fuel scarcity.
The PENGASSAN President, Mr Olabode Johnson, who stated this in Abuja, said the call had become necessary following the critical nature of petroleum and the revenue profile of oil and gas to the nation’s economy.
He noted that “When the present administrations came on board, PENGASSAN and other stakeholders in the petroleum industry came together and produce a roadmap which was submitted to the APC Transition Committee headed by Alhaji Ahmed Joda.
“In the roadmap, we said that due to the urgency and critical nature of petroleum and the revenue profile of Oil and Gas to the economy, the government should declare a state of emergency to address all issues in the sector,” he said.
Johnson said that it was imperative for the Federal Government to take ownership of its infrastructure like pipelines to curtail the incidence of vandalism “because that is the main threat.”
The PENGASSAN President said that once those pipelines are fixed and there was no vandalism the crude would flow without hitches and refineries would produce no matter how small.
He said that government should do whatever it could to make sure that issues of pipeline vandalism, oil theft, and oil bunkering were eliminated decisively.
Johnson said that if the incidence of pipeline vandalism was not properly addressed, it would be difficult for the government to end fuel scarcity in the country.
He stressed the need for routine posting of security personnel to protect the pipelines.”Security personnel that are protecting the pipelines should not be allowed to stay longer than six to seven months to avoid compromise,” the labour leader said.
Johnson also urged the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to take the issue of maintenance of refineries seriously, noting that, “Over the years, the maintenance of refineries have not been done as at when due.”
The PENGASSAN president said that normally turnaround maintenance should be done within two years, “but we have refineries that have not been serviced for seven to 10 years. In Ghana, for instance, they have only one refinery which was built in 1963, because they maintain it very well, the refinery is looking as if it is new.”
Johnson also urged the Federal Government to expand the oil and gas sector by building smaller refineries to meet the local consumption.
He suggested that issues of petroleum industry should be on the top agenda of the forthcoming National Economic Summit, adding that stakeholders in the industry should be invited to chart a new course for the sector.
On the ongoing restructuring of the NNPC, Johnson insisted that the process should be all-inclusive, warning that the career of members of PENGASSAN should not be truncated because of the restructuring of the corporation.
“For the restructuring or re-organisation of the NNPC, what we are saying is that anything that the GMD is going to do let it be all inclusive. Let the process be open and transparent so that all stakeholders can make an input, ” Johnson said.