By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA- President Mohammadu Buhari, Tuesday, assured that his government would ensure adequate protection of oil and gas installations across the country to prevent vandalism, oil thefts and piracy.
He said that the country has lost so much to the vices, stressing that the situation has tremendously affected the economic fortunes of the county.
He stated that his administration will undertake appropriate reforms and implement fresh policies to boost national income from oil and gas production.
Buhari gave the assurance at his separate meetings with delegations from Exxon- Mobil and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the removal of bureaucratic bottlenecks created by multiple government agencies that currently impede the operations of companies in the oil and gas sector would be one of the reforms to be undertaken by his administration.
“It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to secure the environment. The vandalism of oil installations and pipelines, piracy, oil theft and the fall in the international price of oil have made our economic situation very disturbing.
“This government will do all within its powers to secure the environment and encourage more investments in the oil sector,’’Buhari said.
The president also promised to make Nigeria’s oil and gas industry more competitive in the globally global oil market.
Assuring the NLNG delegation of his full to expand the total production capacity of the company, the President regretted that political squabbles and interference in the past had prevented it from attaining its full potentials.
“Today, we are celebrating six trains. It could have been 12 trains if all had gone according to plan,” President Buhari said.
The NLNG delegation included the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr Joseph Dawha and the Managing Director of NLNG, Mr. Babs Omotowa while Exxon-Mobil delegation was led by its Managing Director, Mr Nolan O’Neal.
Earlier, Omotowa appealed to the president to help actualize Train 7 of the NLNG, saying it would create additional 18,000 construction jobs and an additional three billion dollars dividend to government when operational.
Meanwhile, speaking to Journalists after the meeting, Omotowa highlighted the achievements of the company which included the generation of 50 mega watts of power which served the Bonny community of Rivers State.
On involvement of host community in the pipeline security, the MD said it was not peculiar to NLNG.
“Today, Nigeria LNG generates 50 mega watts of power. We supply the entire Bonny Community of 3000 Nigeria power through our plants. We are already demonstrating that we support the power agenda.
“We are really been encouraged. The president very well understood the Nigeria LNG story. He was part of those who created the story and he encouraged us on our positive performance and to continue to grow the company and even make it more successful into the future. So we are encouraged.
“I don’t think there is anything new that we have done that is not done in the oil and gas industry. I think the most important thing is that our host community is a party of our activities. As we mentioned, in Bonny, we provide 24 hours electricity and also we are able to look at our pipeline surveillance and provide those opportunities. But it is not unique to Nigeria LNG. A lot of oil and gas companies also do it”, he said.