by Akinola Ajibade
Nigeria risks losing its fuel market in West Africa to Ghana, if it does not revive its four refineries and build new ones, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Director Mordecai Danteni Ladan has said.
At the Worldstage Economic Summit in Lagos, he said it was high time Nigeria refurbished its refineries and built more to reduce imports.
Ladan represented by DPR’s Manager for Planning Kanmi Ayodeji, said Nigeria might lose a segment of the oil market following Ghana’s decision to build refineries and export petroleum products to Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, among others in the subregion.
He lamented that Nigeria was losing in West Africa, and also not making money from crude oil sales in South and North America.
Delivering a paper entitled: ‘’Achieving oil and gas reforms to boost indigenous participation, energy security,’’ Ladan said the country would make $500 on a barrel of crude if it stopped crude export and focused on refining and selling crude oil derivatives, such as diesel, kerosene, petrol, rubber and other petrochemical products.
This, he said, would help Nigeria to refine enough fuel for local consumption and for export to other countries in the sub-region.
Ladan said: “Ghana will soon control the fuel market in West Africa if it continues exportation of fuel to countries in the sub-region. Ghana is deepening activities in the downstream sub-sector of its petroleum industry, and by extension West Africa, by refining and exporting fuel to neighbouring countries.
“This means that the more fuel that is produced by Ghana, the more it exports the product and the more it dominates that segment of the oil industry in West Africa.”
He described the development as a wake-up call for Nigeria to develop its refineries and build more.
He noted that the Eleme Petrochemical Company in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, returned to productivity months after it was sold to private investors.
Refineries, he said, hold prospects for Nigeria because of its huge population, stressing that the Federal Government would realise more money from petroleum by-products.
The DPR boss said the plastic, pharmaceutical, tyre, transportation industries and others would receive a boost when refineries work optimally.
Ghana last month began fuel export from its Bolgatanga Petroleum Depot in Accra to Niger and Mali.
Its Petroleum Minister, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, said at a forum in Lagos, that Ghana has another depot in Tema, which supplies products to Benin, Cameroun, Ivory Coast and others, adding that the country planned to export to Liberia.
He said, barring any hitches, Ghana would dominate the fuel segment in the sub-region