A national summit on the integration of Artisanal/Modular Petroleum refinery operations in the country will hold next week in Abuja.
This was disclosed at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Ita Enang.
The summit, which is being organised by the Office of the (SSA) Presidency in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, is scheduled to hold on March 16 and 17 at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja.
According to the organisers, the main objectives of the summit include to provide a platform for key stakeholders in government, Organised Private sector and development partners for drafting an acceptable template for the operations of local artisinal/modular refining activities in Nigeria.
It also noted that the summit will help highlight “current technologies in modular refineries by local and international fabricators and research institutions, while identifying and documenting Nigeria’s potential in the fabrication of components for modular refineries.
Enang noted that the conference would help to improve the production of refined petroleum products in the country, thereby reducing their prices to Nigerians.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), He also said that the urgency of holding the conference was because the National Assembly had promised to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by April.
“Most of the issues that will be addressed at the conference are such issues that will require legislation, so any agreement that will be reached which requires legislature will be accommodated in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB),” he said.
Enang, who said that the conference would help to protect the environment, emphasised that the summit was not for the purpose of legitimising illegal refining operations, but integrating the operators into the legitimate modular refining process.
According to him, this will stop all illegalities and create more employment for Nigerians.
He added that the summit will address issues such as the need for the localisation and advancement of home-grown technology in the production of petroluem products, as well as stopping illegal oil activities and mainstreaming artisanal petroleum refiners in the Niger Delta into the national economy.
According to him, the summit will also address the provision of employment opportunities for Niger Delta youths and Nigeria in general, and x-ray post-petroleum deregulation era and its challenges to the petroleum refining sector.
“It will also highlight the economic benefit of the sector, especially in strengthening the Naira, conserving foreign exchange and reducing the prices of petroleum products in the short- and long-term.”