The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has said for a lasting peace to be achieved in the Niger Delta region, oil bearing communities must be involved in oil and gas exploitation in their areas, THISDAY reports.
The minister made the assertion at the closing of the 2nd National Council on Hydrocarbons summit held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, noting that from a peak production of 2.35 million barrels per day recorded last year there was a decline to 1.1 million barrels per day due to incessant vandalism.
However, Kachikwu observed that due to sustained engagements with the Niger Delta, production has ramped up to about 2.1 mbpd from the 2016 crude oil production average of 1.85 mbpd. Also, he said Nigerian local content has witnessed a steady increase in participation of Nigerians in oil and gas contracts by more than 180 per cent.
The minister said that the seven Big Win Roadmap as launched by President Muhammadu Buhari last year has the explicit support and commitment of political leadership, industry and all stakeholders to its implementation. Issues in the sector he said would soon be addressed by a new National Oil and Gas Policy which would be legislated in the next few months.