Bayelsa business community have praised the Federal Government’s plan to merge illegal oil operations into the proposed modular refineries to be created in the Niger Delta.
An illegal oil operation is the refining and sale of stolen crude oil from pipelines of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and the Multinational Oil Companies.
The President of the Bayelsa Business Round Table (BBRT), Mr Olaitari Ikemike, disclosed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Yenagoa that the plan would engender the prosperity of the people.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had said the Federal Government would work with illegal oil refiners instead of destroying their areas of operations.
The official daily oil production figure is about 2.1 million barrels, but the exact amount of crude oil stolen per day from Nigeria’s oil fields and extensive pipelines system is unknown and it cost an estimated $1.5 billion US Dollars monthly to Nigeria.
Government agencies estimate that as much as 400,000 barrels of crude oil may be stolen daily in Nigeria; more than the entire production of individual countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, and Cameroon
Ikemike said that the government’s new initiative showed its sincerity in creating an enabling environment for the rapid socio-economic development of the Niger Delta.
He said that the BBRT is an affiliate of the African Business Round Table, a private sector coalition, seeking to mobilise investors to participate in the proposed modular refineries.
Ikemike said the BBRT was working with the Modular Refinery Business Association of Bayelsa (MRBAB) and Masses Congress to liaise with local oil refiners in readiness for the take off the modular refineries.
In the same vein, Mr Clever Uyabara, MRBAB Chairman, pointed out that the present administration meant well for the region by initiating the new development plan.
Uyabara said members of the group were waiting for policy decisions on the procurement of licences for the establishment of the modular refineries in oil communities.
He said the group had commenced sensitization of all stakeholders in the region and collation of data on local refineries with a view to forming co-operatives.