Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State (Oil) Petroleum Resources, has assured Nigerians of increased oil production on a sustainable basis.
Lokpobiri gave the assurance in Abuja on Monday while addressing stakeholders on his assumption of duty, shortly after taking his oath of office.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lokpobiri and his counterpart, Mr Ekperipe Ekpo, Minister of State (Gas), Petroleum Resources, were among the ministers inaugurated by President Bola Tinubu at the State House on Monday.
Lokpobiri, while stating that he believed in action, and would spend more time in the field, also promised to work together with the regulatory agencies and stakeholders to boost oil production for the benefits of Nigerians.
“I have got more energy, and I have come to utilise that energy to revamp the petroleum sector.
“I am here with one agenda, which is to increase oil production and in order to increase it, we need to work together to achieve the desired results.
“I am here to provide the leadership so that we can go to the Creeks and resolve all the problems,” he assured.
His counterpart, Ekpo, who expressed gratitude to the President for finding him and others worthy to serve, said he would be committed to sustainable gas requisite framework and development of gas infrastructure for the benefit of Nigerians.
Ekpo said Nigeria’s proven natural gas reserves positioned the nations as one of the countries with the greatest reserves, and harnessing the gas reserves would stimulate domestic economy, gas utilisation and support thousands of jobs for economic growth.
He promised to work tirelessly to translate the potentials into realities, for economic advancement.
“With the removal of fuel subsidy, the enormous responsibility of providing alternative to fuel rests on the ministry,” he said.
He said in line with the presidential approval of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative, and as an immediate strategy, the ministry would examine the utilisation of CNG for mass transit sector and associating power generating infrastructure.
“This will support the economy in many ways, including scaling down cost of transportation which will cause multiplier effects, lower food cost and reverse inflationary trend leading to measurable improvement in living conditions of Nigerians,” he added.
According to him, post-COVID era and current Russian-Ukraine war have caused imbalances in the global gas industry.
He said in the next few months, he would be receiving briefings from relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) with the view to ascertaining the actual status of Nigeria’s gas exploration and utilisation, state of infrastructure delivery, level of access and projects within the gas industry.
He therefore urged the National Assembly to grant the ministry needed legislative support to achieve the responsibilities set before the ministry.
“Only together, we can succeed,” Ekpo assured.
Earlier, Amb. Gabriel Aduda, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, while stating that its target was to ramp up oil and gas production, said its efforts extended to the rehabilitation of refineries and the expansion of domestic gas usage.
Aduda said from increasing crude oil production to streamlining petroleum product pricing and distribution, the ministry was revitalising pipelines, encouraging reservoir maintenance projects, and optimising idle fields.
He added that the implementation of automated fuel management systems, the supply of gas to industries, and the enhancement of performance management systems were all steps towards realising its shared vision.
“With all of these in mind. I extend a warm and hearty welcome to the newly-appointed Minister of State (Oil) and the Minister of State (Gas).
“Your dedication, expertise and leadership will be the driving force behind the transformation of our energy sector.
“Together, we will embark on a journey to ensure that our nation’s crucial oil and gas resources are managed with the utmost care, responsibility, and strategic vision,” he said.
Aduda said the Ministry which was established in 1975, emerged in recognition of Nigeria’s pivotal status as a prominent oil producer.
“With a mandate encompassing policies for sustainable resource exploitation, regulatory oversight, local content development, environmental protection, and fostering investment, we are entrusted with shaping the trajectory of our nation’s energy sector,” he added.
He explained that the Ministry was guided by constitutional and legal frameworks, adding that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) of 2021 introduced transformative changes to governance, regulation, fiscal terms, and community engagement into the oil sector.
He said its adherence to the PIA, the 1969 Petroleum Act for non-converted acreages, the National Gas Policy, and the National Petroleum Policy, was paramount in ensuring a robust, responsible, and prosperous energy sector that aligns with evolving global dynamics.
“As we step into these roles. let us acknowledge the key responsibilities and portfolio overview that we have been entrusted with,” he said.
NAN reports that the CEOs and directors of the Ministry’s agencies, including the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Nigerian National Petroleum Company limited and the Petroleum Technology Development Fund were in attendance.
Others are representatives of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, and the Petroleum Training Institute.