Minister of State for Petreleum Resources Dr Ibe Kachikwu yesterday said Nigeria would end fuel importation by 2019.
He said it requires $50billion dollars to fill the infrastructural gap in the industry and get it functioning optimally.
He said by 2019, Nigeria expects to become a net exporter of refined products, adding that an investment drive is ongoing to meet the infrastructure requirement.
Kachukwu was a guest speaker at the 10th Annual Business Law Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) in Abuja, with the theme: Law reform and economic development.
Speaking on the sub-theme: Future prospects for the oil and gas industry, the minister said the refineries are currently working at about 40-50 per cent capacity.
He said the aim is to get them working at 90 per cent capacity or more and build the needed infrastructure as investors come in.
On why refineries are working at low capacity, he said: “How does a refineries work if the pipelines supplying them are out most of the year and so they can’t supply crude? You can’t refine an empty space.
“How does it work when you don’t do your turnaround maintenance or if when monies are budgeted for them they are diverted? How does it work if your contracting process is so long that you never meet the turnaround days you’re supposed to? How does it work when you send the wrong set of people with the wrong set of skills to what should have been very important portfolios in the establishment?” he said.
The minister said engagements with militants in the Niger Delta has been successful, resulting in a ceaseful and rise in crude production.
He said he visited the creeks and met with the local chiefs with a view to finding a short, medium and long term solution to the crisis.
Kachukwu praised President Muhammadu Buhari for not employing force in solving the problem, adding that when he visited the creeks, the militants “never fired a gun” while he was there.
The minister said oil production has picked up as the Niger Delta crisis is being resolved.
According to him, 1.89million barrels was produced as at Wednesday. He said he expects it to hit 2.3million barrels by next month.