Energy

Operators blame weak naira, others for energy crisis

Oil and gas operators have identified the devaluation of the naira, amongst other challenges, as the cause of Nigeria’s energy crisis.

The PUNCH quoted the operators as saying that these concerns have prevented investors from investing in Nigeria.

The operators made this known at the ongoing 2022 Nigeria Oil and Gas conference in Abuja.

According to the industry players,  the crash of the naira against the dollar leading to continuous exchange rate fluctuations, lack of trust in the government by citizens, and absence of in-country refining capacity, among others, had worsened the crisis in Nigeria’s oil sector.

An executive committee member and immediate past Chairman of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, who doubles as Managing Director, 11 Plc, Adetunji Oyebanji; Managing Director, Seplat Energy Plc, Roger Brown; and Group Chief Executive Officer, Vurin Group, Victor Ude, spoke on these concerns and also proffered measures to mitigate the challenges.

On the lack of trust in the government by citizens, particularly as regards the call for fuel subsidy removal, Oyebanji said, “The government itself needs to work the talk. You cannot continue to operate at a certain level that is obvious to everybody without physically or visually demonstrating a deliberate attempt to reduce the cost of governance, what you spend money on and all that.

“And at the same time you are telling people to take on a huge burden (through fuel subsidy removal). I know there should be communication but more so is the actual demonstration that government itself is willing to cut down the cost of governance.”

On his part, the Seplat boss, during a different session at the conference, observed that though many investors were interested in investing in Nigeria, the currency fluctuations in the country was posing a big problem.

Brown said, “Currency is one of the biggest headaches. I can tell you that we talk every time around the world and people are really interested in Nigeria.

“They find it complex, you need to demystify it, there’s a wall of money ready to come into this country, but they look at barriers to it and one of the biggest barriers is the currency. So, currency convertibility you know, bringing equipment in dollars and then having a mainly naira revenue stream.

“These things are fixable. We need to get them right for big projects and really exciting projects. And what I like about the economics here in Nigeria is that they are unbelievably good.”

Brown called for more synergy between the public and the private sectors in terms of addressing the most pressing issues hindering the required growth in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.

He further urged the Federal Government to quickly halt the menace of crude oil theft as this was currently having devastating impacts on the nation’s oil earnings.

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