The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has hailed the management of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, the regulation agency for the oil and gas industry, for its ingenuity in ensuring that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic does not cripple the nation’s economy, following the crash in oil prices.

Alhaji Mohammed made the remarks in Lagos on Monday, during a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the DPR.

The minister said, “The fact that the DPR took measures to ensure that the real impact of COVID-19 on the economy of Nigeria is not felt too much, I think we must thank you on behalf of Nigerians.”

After being conducted round the operational units of the agency by the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the DPR, Mr, Sarki Auwalu, Alhaji Mohammed, who was accompanied on the visit by journalists, said despite the crash of oil prices due to the impact of the pandemic, and the cut in production by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, the astuteness of the management of the DPR kept Nigeria’s economy afloat.

He said beyond regulating and managing the nation’s oil and gas industry, the DPR is also engaging with oil producing communities to ensure there is sustained peace for investment to grow into fruition in the Niger Delta Region.

He added, “What the DPR does goes far beyond technical, because their engagement of the oil producing communities is very key. When we came in 2015, production had dipped, because of the restiveness in the Niger Delta.

“It’s not by accident that we have some stability and modicum of peace in that area today. It’s because of the policies that have been put in place to continue to engage the communities.”

He also commended the DPR for the accountability it exhibits in the management of the flow of revenue to the nation, which goes straight into the Treasury Single Account, TSA, as well as utilizing technology to account for every molecule of oil and gas extracted in the country.

Responding, the DPR boss, Mr. Auwalu, said Nigeria would be a net export of refined petroleum products by 2022, through the combined capacity of 375,000 barrels per day from 27 modular refineries, 650,000 barrels from the Dangote refinery and the 450,000 barrels from the government refineries.

Auwlau added that the DPR has keyed into the diversification agenda of the Muhammadu Buhari administration by providing the enabling environment and pushing for the local production of fertilizer to boost agriculture in the country.

He disclosed that the DPR pushed for the production of fertilizer, citing Indorama, Notore and Dangote among the companies that are now into massive production of fertilizer.

The Director and Chief Executive of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Mr. Sarki Auwalu, (left), while conducting the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (right), and his entourage round the operational units of the DPR in Lagos on Monday

He said, “I can tell you that in the next year and half, we will be a net exporter of fertilizer, because that is the bedrock of agriculture and that is what we will deliberately push to key into this government’s sense of diversification.”

Mr. Auwalu said the government is also implementing a 6-billion-standard-cubic-feet gas supply per day to lay the foundation for the industrial and economic growth of the country, adding that the projects consist of the Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben pipeline for 2.2 billion standard cubic feet of gas, which is near completion; the 2.2 billion standard cubic feet Escravos Lagos pipeline to power the entire South-West geo-political zone and the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano pipeline to convey 2.2 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day.

The DPR Director took the minister and his entourage round the National Production Management System, where the agency monitors real-time the production and transportation of crude oil vessels; the Server Room that coordinates the Integrated Digital Platforms; the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Network; and the online monitoring of marginal fields, among other platforms.

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