The Minister of State for Petroleum, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has expressed concern over the fall in oil prices as it poses danger to the country’s economy.He raised the concern yesterday in Calabar during the last day technical session of 3rd National Council meeting on Hydrocarbons organised by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
Kachikwu said: “The tumbling of oil price from 82 US Dollars per barrel to about 61 over the past few weeks is the toughest black Friday that we have faced. The price has tumbled by about 30 dollars in a short period of about 54 weeks.
“This portends danger because what it does is that, for the first time, we have been alarmed as one of the countries that relies almost solely on receipts from oil. There is the uncertainty of budgeting and meeting fiscal responsibilities.
“What this says to us is that ultimately, we have to find the world’s oil order in which prices are stable and investors can make the right decisions. Everyone has to work together including President Trump to protect consumers as well as producers because, unless we have a steady and determinable price for oil, we are not going to have investments,” he said.
The fall, the minister stressed, would have a major impact on “our ability to fund budgets and countries that do not add additive value to oil resources will have difficulties.”
While assuring that the country must refine its products by improving its refineries, the minister said both the Federal Government and private sector need to join hands in achieving that.He said: “This is the first time government is focused on the need to build refineries back to its production capacities and brought in modular refineries.
“We are correcting the wrong approach that had been adopted over the past 20 to 30 years of oil production.”Speaking earlier, the Chairman, House Committee on Gas, Frederick Agbeni, said the National Assembly is ready to legislate laws that would develop the industry.
While commending the ministry for its efforts to revive the industry, Agbeni urged stakeholders to ensure that such is achieved. The Cross River State Commissioner for Petroleum, Itaya Nyong, expressed joy over the success of the event noting that it was the most attended council meeting with over 400 participants and expressed hope that the recommendations would add value to the industry.