The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has said an indigenous oil company, the Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Limited (NDPR), has demystified local refining of petroleum products.
This is as the regulator urged Nigerians to invest in the downstream oil and gas sector to boost crude oil production capacity of the country.
Director of DPR, Auwal Sarki, spoke to journalists at Ogbele community in Ahoada-East local government area of Rivers State shortly after an inspection by DPR team of ongoing expansion work of Ogbele Refinery operated by NDPR, recently.
The DPR team, accompanied by top officials of the NDPR, also visited the Ogbele oil and gas well-heads, flow station and power station.
Sarki stated that with the success story of the Ogbele Refinery, there are hopes that it would no longer be difficult for Nigerian refineries to be brought back to work or their production capacity improved.
He added: "The essence of this visit is to confirm the capacity of a Nigerian company to be a fully integrated oil and gas company.
"We came here, observed and confirmed that NDPR is fully integrated oil and gas company; from well-head to crude oil and gas production, to crude oil and gas processing and refining, to distribution and marketing.
"These confirmed that the country is ready and we have a company that has made the difference but has become game-changers in the business. We are delighted."
He added: "Currently, the capacity of this company is 11,000 barrels per day and we see the potentials for it to be increased. This is just to say that the issue of refining in Nigeria had been demystified.
"If can have this capacity, refine this capacity and produce the products, then there is not something difficult to bring back the refineries to work or improve the existing capacity.
"The NDPR started with 1,000 barrels per day capacity, it increased with 5,000 and additional 5,000. Who knows?
"This has the potentials to game-change the entire products supply in the country because the volume the produce will provide a lot of security especially in terms of diesel and other essential products that we consume."
Sarki said Nigeria could attain self-sufficiency in gas processing and refining, create wealth and value and strengthen production security.
He said the DPR would offer required license to investors in the oil sector, adding that DPR's interest "is to see money from royalty not from penalty to guarantee business and open opportunity".
"The private sector should invest in this initiative because our observation today, confirmed that this refinery is a masterpiece that has increased production of crude and other essentials.
"Starting with initial production of 1,000 barrels per day; today, they clocked 11,000 barrels per day.
"I urge investors to start small and grow gradually just like what we have seen today in ND Petroleum Resources with practically less than one per cent foreign input. Indeed enormous employment and capacity has been harnessed locally.
"DPR is a business enabler and opportunity provider in the oil and gas sector and we also ensure that the business is sustained that's why we're calling on Nigerians to come and invest in the oil and gas sector rather than indulge in illegal refineries," he added.
Also, Dr. Layi Fatona, outgoing Managing Director (MD) of ND Petroleum Resources, expressed satisfaction in the enormous human resource in the oil and gas sector.