Stakeholders in the downstream petroleum sub-sector drawn from the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) and the Petroleum Products Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN) have assured that the prevailing crisis in the energy sector would soon end with the envisaged return of operations at the Port Harcourt Refinery, Rivers State in January.
The national president and chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of NOGASA, Mr Kenneth Korie and his PETROAN counterpart, Dr. Billy Harry, who spoke after the inauguration of Akwa Ibom State chapters of the two industry regulatory bodies at Ibom Icon Hotel, Uyo, the state capital yesterday, said they were 100 percent sure that the prices of petroleum products would crash when the refineries begin to function again from January.
Korie, who blamed the current hike in prices of the products on importation, said rehabilitation and upgrade of the refineries in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri, which he said works have reached advanced stages, remain the sure way of collapsing the prices of the products.
He said, “Yes, of course there is hope. The GMD NNPC has given assurance concerning that before the National Assembly. In all my talks, I have been hammering on the Port Harcourt Refinery to come on steam.
“I’m 100 percent sure that there will be a serious reduction in the price of petroleum products as soon as our four refineries, including the Dangote Refinery, come up. But we should not expect the price to come down like it was before, because of the high exchange rate, but it will be a bit lower than what it is now.”
In the same vein, the national president of PETROAN, Dr Billy Harry, described the inauguration of the two associations as unique, adding that it is the first time in the annals of the history of the downstream sector for such to happen.
He said it is only when the two groups work together and act together that they would be able to overcome the challenges in the sector and ensure that Nigeria returns to the time when petroleum products is sold at a price that a common man can afford.
He expressed that “what we are doing today is unique, it’s epic and it’s the first in the annals of the history of the downstream sector. We are going to make it unique throughout the country because together we can make sure that the importation of petroleum products is reduced to the barest minimum.”
However, in his acceptance speech, the new state chairman of NOGASA, Mr Sam Osung, promised to partner with the state government and the security agencies to mitigate irregularities and other unwholesome practices within the supply and distribution chain.
He said: “It’s my pleasure that today I am being considered the chairman of NOGASA in Akwa Ibom State, which is the fastest growing stakeholders’ agency. I am going to do this job with passion, determination and commitment. We will partner with the state government, the regulatory agencies representing the federal government, the service chiefs and all security agencies available to mitigate irregularities within the downstream supply and distribution chain,” he said.