The Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Marlin Sylva, on Thursday, explained that the need to protect the generality of the public from undue exploitation and prevent inordinate profiteering by oil marketers has made it mandatory for the Federal Government to keep a close monitor of the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) which currently stands deregulated.
Chief Sylva told journalists at a media session organized to provide a status update on the operations of the Oil & Gas Industry that the role of government in a deregulated environment was to provide a shield for the teeming consumers through the operations of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) which would use its price modulation mechanism to engender a market-driven price regime.
He said the PPPRA would work closely with marketers in this regard to ensure that the best pricing is achieved.
“I am not just announcing deregulation today and let us understand ourselves about deregulation. Deregulation was approved on the 19th of March, this year…. but as you all know, PMS and other petroleum products are very strategic commodities, so you cannot allow the prices of these commodities to be determined wholly by the marketers’, the Minister said.
Speaking further, Chief Sylva said, “Anywhere in the world, if you want to buy anything, you have what is called the recommended retail price, the consumer protection agency would fix a price so that nobody can profiteer inordinately from the people”.
He explained that because of the volatile nature of the price of petroleum products, especially PMS, the Ministry was working closely with stakeholders in the Petroleum Industry to introduced an alternate fuel via the revamp and aggressive introduction of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an alternative fuel.
Describing CNG as a lot more stable and cheaper fuel, the Minister said the introduction of CNG would also provide consumers with a viable alternative, noting that elaborate arrangements have been emplaced to make the CNG option a working alternative to PMS.
Chief Sylva also explained that the Ministry was working on an extensive LPG penetration campaign which apart from providing a veritable source of cooking fuel, would serve as a massive outlet for job creation across an expanded value chain.
On the planned auction of marginal fields, the Minister reiterated that the bid session would take place before the end of the year.
He was, however, quick to explain that the bid for bigger acreages which would have on offer, concessions in the shallow offshore and deep offshore assets would be dependent on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill due to the need to stabilize the fiscal framework.
The Minister enthused that despite the challenges posed by the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the Petroleum Industry in the country is planning ahead to ensure a rewarding future for stakeholders in the Industry.