24 February 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called for the rehabilitation of the refineries, depots and other oil and gas infrastructural facilities as the solutions to end the current rounds of fuel scarcity in the country.
The senior staff trade union expressed concern at the current fuel scarcity and attendant man-hours and energy Nigerians lost to queuing at fuel stations and considered this embarrassing to a nation.
According to the PENGASSAN, when its leadership paid courtesy visits to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), the Petroleum Training Development Funds (PTDF), Petroleum and Pipelines Marketing Company (PPMC), and the House of Representatives, all stakeholders in the industry must proffer enduring and sustainable ways to end the persistent fuel crisis and prevent such from rearing its ugly head again.
While addressing the management of the agencies and the legislators during the visits, PENGASSAN President, Comrade Francis Olabode Johnson, lauded them for their various roles in ensuring that Nigerians are protected from feeling the pangs of the vagaries of global price regime of petroleum products, and prevented collusion and restrictive trade practices harmful in the sector.
At PPPRA, Comrade Johnson said, “We want sustainable steps to be taken to end the persistent fuel crisis that has inflicted undue hardship on Nigerians. Let me reinstate our call for increased local refining by ensuring that the nation’s refineries work at maximum capacity.
“Government should involve the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) in rehabilitation and repair of the refineries; our refineries are due for a major expansion and ‘debottlenecking’, development of new strategies in ensuring adequate and sustainable crude supply to the refineries. The government should also fast-track processes that will encourage private sector involvement in local refining.
“We are equally calling on the Federal Government to rehabilitate and upgrade all depots in the country, while there is need to carry out an overhaul of all pipeline networks to ease distribution and supply of petroleum products.”
At the headquarters of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), the leadership of PENGASSAN led by Comrade Johnson called on the agency to continuously engender policies that will enhance the Agency’s responsibilities in the value chain to ease petroleum products transportation.
The PENGASSAN also advised the government to address the issue of surrounding the integrity of pipelines by repairing and replacing damaged pipelines to enhance the supply of crudes to refineries and export terminals as well as the distribution of refined products to all the depots.
“We have to reinstate that unless there is an increase in the Government’s commitment not only to maintain but also to rehabilitate and repair as well as replace aging and ruptured pipelines, there will continue to be challenged with the distribution and supply of petroleum products to all parts of the country.
“This will also negatively impact on local refining due to an inadequate supply of crude through the pipelines to the refineries. The dream of gas to power, and domestic and industrial gas development policies of the Government will be unrealised.
“The NNPC and security agencies should ensure the security of lives of the staff of PPMC/NPSC/SML in oil and gas installations, as they are always at the frontline of repairing damaged pipelines and protect pipelines from being vandalised. There should be improved surveillance with the use of modern technology, adequate implementation of pipeline right of ways and location of security agencies’ offices in “black spots” along pipelines.”
Meanwhile, the PENGASSAN president canvassed for the remove all encumbrances associated with the importation of refined products into the country and enhance infrastructural facilities, such as construction of additional Single Point Mooring and extension of such into the deep waters to enable berthing of large vessels, to ease the challenges of importation at the House of Representatives.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Honourable Yakubu Dogara, agreed with the PENGASSAN that there is no other alternative to improving local refining as a solution to the fuel crisis; adding that the House will do all within its power to enact enabling laws to increase local refining.
As a major stakeholder in the oil and gas industry, PENGASSAN president told the gathering at the head office of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in Abuja that there should be a collaboration between the government and companies to ensure the security of oil and gas infrastructures.
“The government needs to collaborate with oil and gas companies to put in place more formidable security strategies and mechanisms, including intelligence gathering and sharing, as well as the use of modern surveillance techniques and equipment to secure oil and gas pipelines.
“We also appeal to the vandals and economic saboteurs to desist from destroying the nation’s economy, thereby hampering development,” he said.