Dr Emmanuel Kachikwu, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Thursday, canvassed for speedy deregulation of the nation’s oil and gas industry.

Kachikwu made the call at the 2015 National Association of Energy Correspondents (NAEC) conference, held in Lagos.

The NNPC boss, represented by Mrs Bolanle Ashafa, Acting Managing Director of Nigeria Engineering and Technical Company (NETCO), said deregulation would encourage domestic private sector participation and inflow of foreign investments.

According to him, deregulation will also provide a fair deal for Nigerians from the abundant petroleum resources, through fair product prices for consumers, full cost recovery, and reasonable margins for operators.

“Implementation of the policy will entrench efficiency in product usage, product availability and effective competition among investors, hence ending products shortage.

“However, critical enablers such as security of supply and distribution infrastructure must be assured to guarantee the availability of the petroleum products at affordable prices,” he said.

Kachikwu said that the corporation was fully committed to reforming existing refineries, to boost domestic petroleum products supply.

He said that the refineries had been re-streamed, but were yet to attain optimal capacity in production.

“Removal of price control mechanisms is deemed imperative to ensure full growth of the sub-sector, by allowing private stakeholders to complement the effort of government in developing the industry,” he said.

He reassured Nigerians that NNPC would continue to maintain stability in the supply and distribution of petroleum products nationwide.

He said that the Nigerian oil and gas industry would be transformed for greater efficiency and sustainable growth, through market reforms, diversification of the revenue base and monetisation of the natural gas resources.

“We will focus on the need to address infrastructure constraints, to ensure sustainability of gas and petroleum products supply and distribution nationwide.

“We will be tackling infrastructure gaps and promoting inclusive growth, as well as capacity building,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Deji Haastrup, the General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Nigeria Ltd., said that the cost of executing projects and services in the industry, was high in spite the dwindling price of crude oil.

Haastrup also identified oil theft and illegal refineries of crude oil as other challenges facing the industry in Nigeria.

He commended the NAEC for organising the conference for stakeholders in oil and gas sector to deliberate on crisis in the industry.

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