The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu said the effects of security challenges in oil and gas sector had affected all sectors of the country’s economy.
Kachikwu said this on Monday in Lagos at the 17th International Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Biennial Conference on the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria.
The theme of this year’s conference was titled “Integrated Security Approach, New Strategies and the Way to go in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry’’.
The minister was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the Minister on Physical and Regulatory Matters, Dr Timothy Okon.
He said that sustained vandalism of production facilities had led to shut-ins and deferment, which in turn had drastically declined oil production and export figure.
Kachikwu said that this had resulted into concomitant economic losses and reduction in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the nation.
The minister said that the far-reaching effects of the environment pollution arising from oil spills were the degradation suffered by the affected community lands.
He said the country would still expend valuable resources to clean up the affected lands.
“There is also the inevitable cost of repairs and maintenance of sabotaged facilities, not to mention some irredeemable losses like injuries, fatalities and the trauma associated with kidnap cases.
“There is no exaggerating the pervading effects of the security situation in our fields.
“ Mere recounting and lamenting the effects may not help much, except to identify the immediate and remote cases with a view to addressing them with all the deserved vigour.
“While the ministry of petroleum resources will not claim to have an exhaustive list of causes, we do have a sizeable list and the top item is marginalisation.
“Enlightenment should be enough to clear what is perceived, but real marginalisation, wherever it exists, needs more profound strategies’’, he said.
The minister said that some local communities in some field locations feel excluded from the scheme of things, especially when they heard that some communities were already enjoying the initiatives of a few companies.
He said the present administration was not deterred or resting on its oars in reaction to these challenges.
“While sustaining established remedial strategies, new ones are being considered on a continual basis and the scope of consultation is continuously being widened.
“The path of dialogue is opened to all relevant stakeholders and to host communities in particular, in addition to the established avenue for receiving their routine complaints and petition against licensed operators’’, he said.
Earlier, the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr Mordecai Ladan, said increase in pipelines vandalism, crude oil theft and crude spillages in Niger Delta, had resulted in decrease in crude production and revenue to government.
Ladan said that the increase in hazards and risk posed a great challenge not only to the government but, also to both the workforce and the host communities.
He said that the conference was carefully selected to address challenges confronting the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
Ladan said it was imperative for stakeholders in the industry to sustain and improve commitment to essential variables within the environment, adding that these resources were for the benefits of the industry and Nigeria.
According to him, in the past decade, the industry witnessed increased activities.
Ladan expressed thanks to the Federal Government for its deliberate policy to increase daily crude production to four million barrels and national reserve to 40 billion barrels by the year 2020.
“ The theme of this conference is a reflection of our commitment to harmonise valuable recommendations that will evolve from the three-day discussions and galvanising them as essentials to government policies.
“It is expected that at the end of this conference, we will come up with a communique, summarising opinion and suggestions presented, with a view to making informed recommendations to government,’’ he said.