The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has stated that the federal fovernment saved N879,billion in 2012 as a result of the increase in the price of petrol from N65 to N97 per litre and the reduction in national consumption of petrol.
This is just as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has credited the minister with the proactive measures that led to the restoration of the Trans-Niger Pipeline, Nembe-Greek Pipeline and Tebidaba-Brass Pipeline, which according to the corporation, has helped to ramp up the country's crude oil output.
NNPC's statement came two days after Shell announced that it had yet again shut down the Trans Niger Pipeline following its discovery that the pipeline had been vandalised.
Speaking shortly before her departure to the United States at the weekend, the minister said N467.20 billion was saved from the N32 per litre mark-up in the pump price of petrol in January 2012, while an additional N412.30 billion was saved from the reduction in national consumption of petrol from 60 million litres per day in 2011 to 40 million litres per day.
The minister, who attributed the success to President Goodluck Jonathan's Transformational Agenda in the downstream sub-sector, said the savings were made possible by a number of strategic reform initiatives in the management of petroleum products supply and distribution.
"In spite of these savings, we have also been able to maintain stability of products supply, while putting in place, stringent regulatory conditions which would make it difficult for dubious marketers to short change the system," she said.
The minister said the federal government had done extremely well in the area of halting fuel subsidy scams in the country, stressing that government's efforts at transparency and accountability were yielding positive results.
She said the reforms were carried out to address the issue of pervasive malpractices in the oil and gas sector, so as to engender public trust and belief in government's sincerity in the downstream operational activities.
She identified some of the reform initiatives to include, restoring credibility in the process of products supply and distribution, and the conduct of a prequalification exercise for traders/suppliers initiated in the form of technical audit of suppliers of petrol into the Nigerian market.
She enumerated other measures to include the conduct of monthly and mid-quarter Import Performance Review meetings with stakeholders and resolution of marketers' complaints through effective mediation.
According to her, these measures have stemmed the erosion of marketer's confidence in the fuel importation regime, with its attendant payment uncertainties occasioned by budget approval delays.
"Over N50 billion of private investment was realised in the downstream sub-sector supply and distribution infrastructure alone, in 2012, employing thousands of Nigerians and contributing to our economic growth.
"Such a staggering net flow of investment has also led to the rolling out of private mega filling stations across the country renewed investment in modern vessels and information technology-driven depots all along the coastal areas of the country from Lagos to Calabar," she said.
The minister further disclosed that the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC, had not only completed the repair of the Port-Harcourt-Aba, Warri-Benin and Jos-Gombe pipeline networks to ensure pumping of products to the depots in those areas, but had also commenced the process of upgrading some of its rehabilitated depots from analogue to digital loading meters.
She noted that the government had further promoted and popularised gas, resulting in the drastic increase of the nation's Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) consumption to 250,000 metric tonnes (MT), from 100,000MT in 2011.
She said the government's gas revolution agenda had begun to yield dividends with plans for the establishment of a number of new fertilizer plants at advanced stages of construction.
"The landmark pioneering efforts of NIPCO Plc in Benin for LPG and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG); the Oando and Techno popularisation of small gas cylinders for low income earners are all good examples," she added.
In a related issue, NNPC has lauded the minister for the proactive measures she took in the wake of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft which resulted in the shutdown of three major trunk lines - Trans Niger Pipeline, the Nembe Greek Pipeline and the Tebidaba-Brass Pipeline - accounting for the shut-in of 400,000 barrels per day According to a statement issued by the corporation's acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Department, Ms. Tumini Green, "Part of the measures taken by the minister included escalating the issue to the highest level leading to the setup of a Security Strategy Committee headed by the Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, which has resulted in the restoration of the three lines.
"The feat recorded by the minister will enhance increased production and shore up the revenue accruing to the country."
NNPC added that the rise in crude oil production in the country to 2.4 million barrels per day was as a result of the recent action taken by Alison-Madueke, adding that the recent approval of N15 billion by the National Economic Council (NEC) for adequate policing of oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta region to stem crude oil theft would go a long way in curbing the menace.