The Oasis Reporters
January 28, 2018
The discovery of oil has caused us so much harm than good. If we had continued along the export of agricultural products and solid minerals at the growth rate of the 1950s, we would have been at par with Holland in human development indices. But Nigeria discovered the devil’s blood and got derailed.
Crude oil has caused the nation sorrow, and those sorrows are not about to abate. We have fought a war, discarded a working constitution, planned coups and destroyed bright futures because of oil. And yes, we have destroyed the economy due to this devil’s blood we depend on. The day oil was discovered in Nigeria, the people lost their sovereignty…and their peace.
Oil exploration activities have badly damaged the environment. The oil producing areas have polluted surface and underground water, crops don’t yield and animal husbandry is difficult. Heavy metals from oil exploration have rendered aquatic life inedible with definite signs of mutation. Sterility is on the rise, gas flaring in the Niger Delta brings both acid rains and black soot leaving a lot of folks with lung-related diseases.
The quality of life has greatly reduced and has had an adverse effect on the economic mainstay of those areas.
The Ogoni Fiasco of 1993 easily comes to mind where agitators were judicially murdered for agitating for some measure of decency in exploration activities. The communities chased out the government and the oil companies, the government retaliated by killing them.
Now, it is a stalemate.
The government doesn’t get the oil, and the people are no worse for it! They never really benefited from it anyway so just as well!
But how could we pride ourselves as an oil-producing country without ensuring the vast employment of citizens in the sector? Why did we not deliberately create policies that would ensure the employment of citizens to create direct benefits?
The oil business in Nigeria has exported more jobs than created. This is still ongoing. Believe it or not, the oil & gas industry in Nigeria employs less than 30,000 personnel both upstream and downstream. But no aspect of the materials and equipment required in Nigeria is deliberately manufactured in Nigeria except a few like the Christmas Tree in exploration being manufactured by Globestar industries in Warri as a deliberate insistence and encouragement by the then Goodluck Jonathan Administration’s emphasis on local content. But most of the requirements of oil exploration, production, and processing are sourced from Europe, USA and China.
The Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry creates at least 200,000 jobs outside Nigeria but 30,000 jobs inside Nigeria. The Nigeria O&G industry creates a value of at least $30 billion outside Nigeria but less than $10 billion inside Nigeria! Every drilling rig, pipe, drill bit, chemical, survey tool, and so much more is sourced offshore! Every vessel, pump, mechanical seal, catalyst, etc used in the refinery is sourced offshore! There’s no value added here! We just pay them all our livelihood, deny our own citizens the opportunities, and export all!
Yes, the Nigerian Content Division has attempted to reduce this calamity but that is simply a drop in an ocean of needs. The Brazilian Government commenced oil & gas business like 20yrs after Nigeria did. Now, they have firms that manufacture almost 80% of the Oil & Gas needs and have deliberately positioned the industry to be beneficial to them, employing hundreds of thousands of their citizens and exporting goods and services beside oil. We haven’t done a thing to derive value from the oil, rather we have used the oil to place a curse on us! It is a calamity!
But it gets worse. We import a value equivalent of about 70% of what we export as refined products! This is insane! Any serious country would have since declared an emergency. We ought to be refining our daily requirements and exporting the excess. But we refine less than 20% of our daily needs. We have an installed refining capacity of about 425 barrels per day while the daily need is about 1.2 million barrels per day or 34 million litres of PMS. At 100% refining capability, we can not satisfy beyond 30% of our needs. Yet, our average production is about 30% of the 425 BPD! And this has gone on for over 30yrs!
We are not outraged that we are exporting jobs, we are not outraged that we are importing foreign inflation, we are not outraged that we are not building capacity, we aren’t disturbed that our so-called oil income goes right back to those who paid us as payment for refined products!
We are not outraged that for every litre of fuel we import, we destroy the economy further by a factor of 4 (multiplier effect)… Yet, every government comes in and speaks about job creation, diversifying the income stream and lots more. Mere lip service as most of them lack the understanding that the Oil business is not just buying products and selling crude, but a veritable tool for employment creation and geopolitical influence. We are wicked to ourselves.
In the absence of capacity by the federal government, at least the state governments and their constituents should have known better. But they’re hardly concerned either as long as there is easy money to share. The citizen could go to hell and burn!
We need not agitate if the state governments were functional; all the governors, representatives and others need to do is to sit with the federal and explain the need for local refining!
Yes, DPR gives the license but the criteria are stringent. The state governments, pressure groups, Southern coalition could convince the federal government the benefits of local refining and acquire bulk licenses on behalf of their zones. And build modular refineries all over the place. It would cost about $30 million to construct a 10,000 BPD refinery. We require at least 40 of those to meet up with our refining needs.
Every state could have one built by their preferred investors. Each 10,000 BPD modular refinery would employ about 1000 direct staff and over 3000 indirect ones. 40 of such refineries would get 160,000 people out of the unemployed zone, and create value of at least a multiple of 4!
Are you aware that 40 refineries across the country could reduce our power shortage by at least 30%? The refineries go along with power plants and more. Go figure; we would be solving a lot of problems with just one problem!
The South ought to at least prevail on their constituents to demand for local refining. The refineries would them pay an agreed amount to the government. The government increases its revenue in taxes, unemployment is reduced, power generation is increased, capital flight is reduced, and so much more.
But the South is part of the problem; we have refused to speak up. We have become as silent as the graven images of Owerri. We have sheepishly endorsed this despicable model of poverty propagation without a whimper.
If we must benefit from this oil thing at all, we should start from constructing the local refineries. And have direct benefits immediately.
Incidentally, the western countries realise that if we should start refining, they lose business. So they do everything within their powers to destabilize us…through their media networks, terrorism, propping up a section of the country in governance to ensure we are perpetually subdued. They are in charge of supplying our materiel and equipment needs, they supply our refined products, our vehicles, our military hardware, and we pay them for all. We work hard just to pay them. They have their representatives in all facets of our governments. They need to keep us weak, fractured and confused to be assured of their income streams!
For those who believe the international community would help with freedom or something, perish the thought now and forever! No one loves you more than he loves himself! In fact, they are waiting for is to start shooting at one another so they could supply arms to both sides!
The Nigerian Economy is unplanned and is at the mercy of those who benefit from it in Europe, China and the US. We are not in control of our own fate; we are at the mercy of the foreigners and their Caliphate counterparts. You understand why they keep propping the Caliphate now?
Our solutions lay within…and within the intellectuals of Southern Nigeria. Let us come together and plan the way forward. We have to look inwards and refine locally already…so help us God!
Written by Baron Roy