By Funmi Emmanuel, Abuja.
India has replaced the United States of America, USA as the largest importer of Nigeria’s crude with China and Malaysia following closely.
The US which had traditionally taken the bulk of Nigeria’s crude has in recent months drastically reduced its demand which now stands at about 250,000 barrels per day.
The Coordinator, Corporate Planning and Strategy, Nigerian Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Tim Okon who made the disclosure at the ongoing 21st World Petroleum Congress yesterday in Moscow, Russia, stated that the Asian countries have since replaced the US.
Dr. Okon however told reporters that India now purchases some 30 percent of Nigeria’s daily crude production, which currently hovers around 2.5million barrels.
Okon, who also doubles as the Director of Transformation of the NNPC explained that Nigeria would not ignore any market in its quest to remain competitive in the global oil and gas industry.
His words: “Asia is important and in that respect we have regards for all marks; the important thing is to make sure that you are selling the products that you have and you do not ignore any market”.
He noted that Nigeria is participating in the congress to access global business opportunities in the petroleum industry especially in the gas sub-sector to enable it position itself as a major competitor in the hydrocarbon market.
He said as a natural resource rich country, Nigeria is working hard to do a better job in developing such resources and translating them to the wider economy.
While stressing that the country does not have preference markets for its products, he however, admitted that the Petroleum Industry Bill currently before the National Assembly needs to be passed into law to enable the country to maximize its potentials in the oil and gas industry.
“I cannot talk about future incentives if the principal law that would give birth to it has not been passed but I want to say that the general intention is that Nigeria must compete in the market place and our fiscal systems are designed to be competitive that would lead to good outcomes for the country,” Dr. Okon observed.
“It is always helpful to do things in a timely manner and that is an important point to stress. Many of the countries that were trying to get new legislations passed like Ghana, Brazil, Mozambique and even Uganda have passed their legislation. So I think timeliness is of the essence,” the Coordinator noted.
Nigeria’s participation at the 2014 WPC is anchored on the theme `Harnessing Nigeria’s Gas Resources for Sustainable National and Regional Development.’