The Federal Government has raised a 17-man Sub-Committee for the protection of oil and gas assets within the Niger Delta region, to consolidate the gains realised through its Amnesty programme. The Committee is being headed by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman.
The maiden meeting of the Sub-Committee was held in Abuja today. The Honourable Minister for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman stated that the Oil and Gas Asset
Protection Sub-Committee was constituted by the President to promote the implementation of the post Amnesty programme of the Federal Government.
He acknowledged the tremendous success of the Amnesty programme in bringing peace
and a conducive environment for economic activities in the Niger Delta region.
Dr. Rilwanu Lukman averred that the programme is mostly beneficial to Nigeria’s oil and gas industry in view of the level of crude oil production which has risen phenomenally.
To this end, the Minister seized the opportunity to emphasise that the Committee was
primarily constituted by the Federal Government to assist by contributing to the synergy of efforts towards making the Amnesty programme a resounding success.
Among others, the Sub-Committee will liaise with the oil companies and local communities with a view to assessing and establishing the level of security of oil and gas infrastructure and facilities such as flow stations and pipelines in the Niger Delta region.
In addition, it will determine the security needs of oil and gas companies, both upstream and downstream as well as the needs of the construction firms with a view to advising on the strategies that need to be employed to address these security needs and will advise on the arrangements that need to be made to ensure the provision of regular surveillance and sustainable protection of the oil assets in the region.
The Ministry of Petroleum Resources will serve as the Secretariat of the 17-mam Sub-Committee
Meanwhile in another development, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to stop gas flaring at the nation’s 187 oil flow stations through the vehicle of the accelerated Gas Development Projects.
He disclosed that the projects were conceived as a window to stop gas flaring on one hand, and on the other hand to provide feedstock for improved power generation and other industrial and economic uses. While acknowledging the challenges the sector had faced in the immediate past and the success of the Amnesty programme, the Minister said, “The success of the programme had convinced us that with these accelerated Gas Development Projects, we can get more gas to be supplied for power generation and for our industries”.
He stated further that, “the accelerated gas projects is backed by Government and would materialise without prejudice to the gas Masterplan as they were designed as integrated and complementary to the gas Masterplan”.
He therefore re-emphasized the importance of the projects and noted that the challenges being faced by the stakeholders especially the 15 selected private gas investors were undoubtedly surmountable. Dr. Lukman thus sought their cooperation and support toward the actualization of the gas projects. In the same vein, stakeholders were reminded to work towards the March 31, 2010 agreed deadline for the signing of the definitive Agreement o the projects.
Stakeholders at the meeting had earlier informed the Honourable Minister of the catalogue of problems being faced which amongst others are the need for the revalidation of data on location and availability of gas from the flow stations across the country.
Present at the meeting were officials from the Ministry, Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Petroleum Matters, agencies under the supervision of the Ministry, representatives of the international oil companies, as well as the representatives of the (15) fifteen selected private gas investors and the United State Embassy.
The Ministry on behalf of the Federal Government had earlier signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the 15 private investors to carryout short term gas projects at various locations in the Niger Delta region. The third party investors are to have access to the oil fields either at the flow stations or wellhead to obtain gas that otherwise would have flared, extract the liquids and strip gas of C1 (methane) for power generation, and as raw materials for petrochemical, fertilizer industry and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for domestic consumption.
The projects are to be realised within 12 – 18 months.