Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, expressed his optimism that Nigeria would transition into a net exporter of petroleum products by 2024. Kyari conveyed this projection during his speech at the PENGASSAN Energy and Labour Summit 2023 held in Abuja on Monday.
Highlighting the current status of Nigeria’s petroleum industry, Kyari underscored the significance of reducing the nation’s heavy reliance on crude oil exports. He noted that as a resource-dependent country, Nigeria should not continue exporting 100 percent of its crude oil production. Kyari emphasized, “Today, we export 100 percent of our productions; no resource-dependent country does this, and that is why we must deliver on our mandate.”
While discussing the importance of this transformation, Kyari refrained from detailing specific plans to revamp the country’s aging refineries, emphasizing that actions would speak louder than words. He said, “So, I don’t want to tell you we are going to revamp our refineries. That is too much of PowerPoint talks. So, it will be done, and you will see it. I don’t want to speak about it; we are tired of speaking about it.”
Kyari went on to explain that achieving net petroleum product exports was the primary goal, ensuring that Nigeria has enough fuel for domestic consumption and surplus for export. He clarified that refining crude oil within Nigeria would not necessarily lead to a reduction in local petrol prices, as those prices are heavily influenced by international market rates.
Nigeria has long grappled with the underperformance of its government-owned refineries. However, recent efforts have been made to rehabilitate and revive these facilities as part of a broader strategy to end petrol importation in the country. Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, expressed confidence that the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) Ltd. plant would be operational again by December.
Additionally, the eagerly anticipated Dangote Refinery is set to commence production soon, contributing significantly to Nigeria’s domestic refining capacity. While the refinery’s initial production target was delayed, Aliko Dangote, the President of Dangote Industries Limited, has stated that this project will revolutionize the Nigerian fuel industry, providing cleaner and more affordable fuel options.
Kyari concluded by highlighting ongoing initiatives, such as the adoption of compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicles, which aims to bring cleaner and cheaper fuel options to the market. He expressed optimism that these efforts would bear fruit, resulting in improved access to cleaner and more affordable fuel for Nigerians.
As Nigeria moves closer to realizing its goal of becoming a net exporter of petroleum products, these developments are expected to have a significant impact on the country’s energy landscape and economic outlook.