DELTA: The governor of Cross River State Prof. Ben Ayade has called on the federal government to compel Chevron, Shell, others (IOCs) in the Niger Delta region to establish refineries in the area.
The call came two days after Minister of State Petroleum Resources; Dr. Ibe Kachikwu said the government was considering initiating a policy in future that would compel multinational oil to refine their crude share in Nigeria.
The governor who spoke during a session at the on-going Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) in Abuja on Wednesday, said government needs to do more than its doing currently to sustain peace in the region.
He said local refining will create jobs and boost the local economies of the oil-rich region.
The governor, who described the people of the region as patient, said there were multiple opportunities in the area that government could use to boost the economy of the area.
“Every oil company that produces ‘X’ amount of crude a day must a refinery it. Close the doors to the import of petroleum products” Ayade said.
He lamented the long process it takes to get approval from federal agencies overseeing the petroleum industry, pointing out that effort by the state government in the region to buy into the industry were being affected by delays in licensing approvals.
He noted that the call for the diversification of the economy of the region was premature as all the potential of oil and gas including petrochemicals has not been exploited.
In his contribution, Dr. Kachikwu said to maintain peace in the region, both the federal and states governments need to collaborate and do more for the region.
He said in the past 20 years the federal government has spent over $40 billion in the region, yet with little to show for it.