Ex-Venezuelan Energy Minister Hails Nigeria’s Downstream Liberalisation

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Alirio Parra

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ALIRIO Parra, former Venezuelan minister of mines and energy, has described the decision of the Federal Government to liberalize the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry as historic and smart.

Parra, who is also a member of the global oil industry outfit, CWC Group stated at a forum in Abuja over the weekend that the liberation of the downstream sector in the country is a bold testament to the fact that oil is a market driven commodity.

“One really important change in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria is the decision by the Federal Government to open the domestic market for competition. I am not necessarily talking about the elimination of subsidy, but opening the market, is a statement that oil is market driven and that with time, it is going to be to the benefit of Nigeria, and to all Nigerians,” he said.

According to Parra, the opening of the market will in no time encourage more players to bring in petrol which would eventually lead to a new era of competitive pricing

“Soon people will start to rush out to bring in oil thinking they are going to make a huge profit but as more oil comes into the market, things would start to stabilize and slowly it would find its own level at a price no one can forecast but surely it would be a competitive price.  I think this is a historic decision and it is one of the smartest that Nigeria has taken in recent years,” he said.

It is envisaged that the liberalization of the downstream sector will among other benefits ensure, market stability and Improve fuel supply situation through private sector participation that will eventually lead to the reduction in hoarding, smuggling and diversion of petrol.

The new price regime is projected to stabilize price at the actual product price as well as encourage investments in both refining and retail aspects of the downstream business.

Parra also endorsed the nomination of former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo by the Federal Government as Nigeria’s candidate for the Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.

“I think that Barkindo will make a fantastic Secretary General, he will return the dignity of Nigeria in the International service, he will be a Secretary General of huge category and an important figure in the international oil industry,” he said.

The former Venezuelan Energy Minister also opined that with Barkindo as OPEC Secretary General, the institution will be strengthened because of his wealth of experience in the global oil and gas industry.

“Barkindo will provide a power balance approach. Based on his international energy experience, he knows how to deal with other oil producers, consumers, international oil companies and the international agencies, it will be a great achievement for him to be appointed next month,” Parra said.

—  May 16, 2016 @ 16:00 GMT

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