Participants at the just concluded Nigerian Content Midstream and Downstream Oil and Gas Summit organized by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) have beckoned on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to create a unique window of forex access to facilitate seamless operations of modular refineries in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
This recommendation was part of the communique of the summit which was read by the Manager Corporate Communications, NCDMB, Mr. Esueme Dan Kikile at the end of the summit on Tuesday. According to him, delegates at the summit encouraged relevant authorities to adopt creative initiatives to address the nagging issue of irregular supply of feedstock to the modular refineries, which is hampering the smooth operations of the plants. They further advocated that the Federal Government should divest from the petroleum depots and address the dysfunctions of Nigerian pipeline infrastructure.
Participants also requested that the NCDMB should consult more with midstream/downstream stakeholders to co-produce solutions to the peculiar challenges confronting the sector.
The recommendations were geared to address some of the challenges of the sectors which were identified by the delegates. These included that the midstream/downstream sectors face uncertainty due to the sustenance of subsidies, inconsistent supply of feedstock, and the broken product distribution infrastructure. They also highlighted the challenges that modular refinery operators face in sourcing forex and called attention to the hurdles and delays that complicate the process of operationalizing a valid import waiver.
The two-day summit received 11 papers and featured three-panel sessions and at the end came up with a few high-impact actions that would help to maximize the potentialities in the midstream/downstream sectors of the oil and gas sector. One of the action items is an increase in NCDMB’s collaboration and alignment with other relevant ministries, departments, and agencies as well as stakeholders to mainstream Nigerian Content bottom lines in refining, processing, storage, construction, fabrication, distribution, marketing, and retail to liberate the potential of the sectors.
Other suggestions point to the need to encourage accelerated investment in modernizing and upscaling the local supply chain to ease petroleum product distribution and to formulate and implement policies and interventions to support indigenous operators and make them globally competitive in terms of quality delivery and product pricing. The recommendation also included the need to incentivize the collocation of modular refineries and the depots and the Free Trade Zones to enable easy offtake of petroleum products and promotion of the utilization of gas as an energy source of choice in Nigeria and addressing the forex liquidity constraints of indigenous companies.
Participants at the summit observed that the midstream and downstream sectors have numerous leverage points to create value and these opportunities are yet to be fully explored. They also indicated that the modular refineries could be potential game-changers as they are well-suited to meet the demands for refined petroleum products in their catchment areas.
The participants thanked the Board and its leadership for tenaciously building the momentum of Nigerian Content and called on all stakeholders in the midstream and downstream sectors to support the progress achieved so far and ensure that they take the posture of good faith compliance with all Nigerian Content requirements.
Delivering the vote of thanks, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote assured participants that their recommendations would be considered during policy formation. He also promised that the Board would liaise with relevant agencies to address some of the identified challenges that are outside the remit of the Board’s mandate. “We would prioritize and try to unlock the challenges and continue to push the limits,” he concluded.