- Kachikwu: Transparency Index in Oil Sector Still Low Despite Reforms
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said the country’s oil industry is still lacking in sufficient transparency and trust.
Kachikwu, in a monthly podcast he shared on his social media feeds, and obtained yesterday in Abuja, said despite efforts initiated by the government since 2015 to clean up the industry, transparency index still remains low and trust deficit still very high.
He said going forward, his ministry would focus its energy on improving the industry’s transparency and trust indices, adding that Nigerians had the right to know every details of the industry’s operations.
According to him: “Transparency and trust are going to be key. We have done a lot in terms of trying to bring transparency to the industry: we have done monthly reports, we have done processes, we have reviewed time, we have opened up the industry, but the transparency index still remains low.
“The trust deficit still remains very high, people still do not trust the oil sector, they still do not trust the NNPC, they still do not trust the DPR, and they still do not trust anybody in the oil sector despite all that we have done.”
Speaking on plans to improve the industry’s transparency level, he said: “We have got to ask ourselves: how do we work with those oversight teams, the likes of NEITI, global bodies to work out a process where they can review what we do and get a benchmark where we will be happy.
“Make no mistake about it, Nigerians are entitled to feel the way they do, they are entitled to ask questions, this is their resources, it doesn’t belong to those of us in the ministry. We must be able to look to data, we must be able to do pure analytical appraisals and arrive at a conclusion that is accurate, and at least access what we do in a way that is honest, as opposed to fictional.”
The minister also disclosed in the podcast which focused on his two-year at the helm of the oil sector that the government would step up its oil search not minding the challenges therein.
He said the federal government would remain bullish and not likely to slow down on its search for more oil deposits in the country despite existent challenges militating against this effort.
Kachikwu explained that Nigeria was encouraged to adopt this position by the exploits of the Americans with Shale oil.
In addition to exploring for oil in established areas with hydrocarbon potentials like the Lake Chad Basin and Benue Trough, Kachikwu said the government would further its search for oil in other parts of Nigeria with such potentials.
“We have investments that we are looking at in the Benue Trough and Chad zone. It is absolutely important that just like changing the foothold on refining is going to be key for us in stopping (petrol) importation by 2019, investments in the Lake Chad Basin and Benue Trough are going to be key.
“Every part of Nigeria that has a potential for oil, we will find, if America can find oil out of Shale, Nigeria must find oil wherever it resides in Nigeria,” said Kachikwu.
An attack in July of a team of oil explorers from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), University of Maiduguri and joint security personnel who were undertaking seismic data studies at the Lake Chad Basin, had impacted Nigeria’s oil search in the basin after President Muhammadu Buhari, asked the NNPC to resume its oil search.
Similarly, commercial oil finds in neighbouring Chad had encouraged the NNPC to go back there in November 2016 when it resumed exploration activities in Gubio; Magumeri; Monguno; Kukawa; Abadam; Guzamala; and Mobar, after getting security advice from the military.